THE ENGLISH WORKS OF
IN SIX VOLUMES
Wilton House, the home of Herbert'' s kinsman, the Earl of Pem-
broke, a mile distant from Bemerton Rectory. See Vol. I, p. 39.
THE ENGLISH WOEKS OF
EDITED BY GEORGE HERBERT PALMER
BOSTON AND NEW YORK
HOUGHTON MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
COPYRIGHT 1905 BY GEORGE HERBERT PALMER
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
THIS LARGE-PAPER EDITION IN SIX VOLUMES
IS LIMITED TO 150 COPIES
PRINTED EROM TYPE AT THE RIVERSIDE PRESS
CAMBRIDGE, MASS., U.S.A.
NO. / ^^
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Vn. THE HAPPY PRIEST 1
Vin. BEMERTON STUDY 65
IX. RESTLESSNESS 169
VARIATIONS OF THE MANUSCRIPTS 241
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
Wilton House frontispiece
Herbert's Subscription at Institution page 6
Herbert's Subscription at Ordination 64
Rectory at Bemerton 74
Garden and River at Bemerton 168
THE HAPPY PRIEST
WITH this Group begins the last and briefest
period of Herbert's life, a period remark-
able for its productivity. It extends from his com-
ing to Bemerton in 1630 to his death in 1633. In it
The Country Parson was written and most of
the eighty-six poems which here follow. No poem
printed in Groups VII-XI is found in the Williams
Manuscript, which I have elsewhere shown to have
been probably drawn up about 1628. Some of
these poems may proceed from the last years of
the Crisis, but as they contain no reference to the
struggle there described, I have not included them
in that Group. Some, especially among those
printed under the heading Bemerton Study, were
probably wntten at least in part during the Cam-
bridge years, and then, either by accident or de-
sign, were not copied into the manuscript lent to
Ferrar in 1627-9. But substantially the poems of
these five Groups are Bemerton poems. Their
omission from the Williams Manuscript is prima
facie evidence of date. Nearly all of them, outside
Group VIII, contain allusions to the priestly
character of the writer. Emotional depth and
individual experience will be found in them to
a degree unknown in the Cambridge period, and
4 PREFACE TO
they very generally look back to a past different
from that in which their author is now living.
The beginning of the Bemerton life brought to
Herbert a joyful sense of attainment. The hopes
of many years seemed now about to be realized.
The great deed was done. He was no longer cum-
bered with political, social, or scholarly ties. He
and God were to be alone, and his one interest
henceforth was to be the priestly office. He set
himself with characteristic energy to search out all
the subtle significance which his present tasks
might contain. His Ufe should be as intellectually
ordered, as coherent, as beautiful, as compact with
rich suggestion, as his verse had been before. He
codified his work ; he studied from day to day
what were the best ways of performing each petty
portion of his stately office.
Walton gives a long account of Herbert's elabo-
rate rationalization of the English ritual. This ac-
count is on its face open to doubt. How much of
it proceeds from Herbert's mind, and how much
from Walton's, is not clear. Walton had no ac-
quaintance with Herbert, and this argumentative
piece of history was written long after Herbert's
death. Walton's Life, like that by Oley, was ob-
viously intended to serve the useful purpose of an
Anti-Puritan tract. But after all deductions, the
argumentation seems well in keeping with Her-
bert's general temper. It is ever his way to make
the most of what he finds at hand. He asks few
THE HAPPY PRIEST 5
ultimate questions, but turns all that tradition
hands down to him into something rich and mean-
ingful. Throughout this account he justifies the
services of his Church because of their reasonable-
ness, and not because they are authoritatively pre-
scribed; and this is his method in his poems and
The Country Parson. There, as here, he grounds
the practices of the collective Church on the needs
of the individual soul. On the whole, then, I be-
lieve Walton's pages on ritual may be accepted as
a fair account of Herbert's disposition during the
Bemerton years. He tried to bring into action and
fill with ingenious, independent, and reverent in-
telhgence all the resources of his little world. By
this poetic development of ritual he sought to do
for his people what he was at the same time doing
for himself in The Country Parson. He "made
it appear to them that the whole Service of the
Church was a reasonable, and therefore an accept-
able. Sacrifice to God." Always to his mind the
way to render Kfe glorious was to stuff every por-
tion of it with thought, and delightedly to detect
compacted reason where the dull mind contents
itself with seeing only plain fact.
The present Group of poems is the expression of
exuberant joy in at last reaching a long hoped for
good. Few other Groups have so lyric a quality.
After some study of the conditions of the priest-
hood, he sees that these are all summed up in the
priest's abandonment of everything that can be
called his own, and in his full absorption into the
life of his Master. Such union, the realization of
thoughts of love which had possessed him for
many years, throws him into an intellectual ecstasy,
and song after song is poured out expressing his
dehght. The ordinances of the Church, especially
those connected with the Holy Supper, get a new
meaning. The closing day^ is sacramental, and all
the world resounds with God's praise.
Herberts subscription at his Institution to Bemerton Rectory ; from
the Record Office, Salisbury. See Vol. J, p. 39.
THE HAPPY PRIEST
8 THE CALL
Not found in W. The first happiness either of tak-
ing orders or of settling at Bemerton.
Used also in The Rose, IV, 185.
Having Thee, I have all.
Stanza i, What life will then be.
Stanza ii. What He will then be.
Stanza iii. What I shall then be.
1. John xiv, 6.
2. A way or road usually deprives us of breath.
4. Ed. 1633 reads And such a, throwing the Kne out
of rhythm and out of conformity to the plan of
the poem. I substitute the reading of B. and of
the later editions.
6. Thou art not only the feast^ but the way to it:
Country Parson, XXII. The same rhyme occurs
again in Faith, IV, 29, 1. 6 and 8.
7. A feast, unlike common feasts, more enjoyable the
longer it continues.
8. A strength which makes him who approaches
10. As none can demand. Cf. Praise, IV, 193, 1. 4;
The Method, V, 197, 1. 6.
11. Romans viii, 35.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST
Come, my Way, my Truth, my Life:
Such a Way as gives us breath.
Such a Truth as ends all strife.
Such a Life as killeth death.
Come, my Light, my Feast, my Strength: 5
Such a Light as shows a feast.
Such a Feast as mends in length.
Such a Strength as makes his guest.
Come, my Joy, my Love, my Heart:
Such a Joy as none can move, 10
Such a Love as none can part.
Such a Heart as joyes in love.
"When at his Induction he was shut into Bemerton
Church, being left there alone to Toll the Bell (as
the Law requires him) he staid so much longer than
an ordinary time that his Friend Mr. Woodnot
looked in at the Church-window and saw him lie
prostrate on the ground before the Alter; at which
time and place (as he after told Mr. Woodnot) he
set some Rules to himself for the future manage of
his life; and then and there made a vow to labour
to keep them:" Walton's Life. — Aaron well illus-
trates the exquisite art of Herbert in allowing
thought to dictate form. The standard of the priest-
hood being one, is fixed in five rhyming words : in
his own head and heart the priest must be sound;
from him music must go forth; it is his work to
find rest for the sinful; his dress or exterior must
express an inner purity. In successive stanzas, all
having the same fixed rhyme, this scheme tests the
divergent natures found in man. Swinburne, in his
poem Eight Years Old, similarly employs a fixed
set of rhymes for all the stanzas.
Not found in W. Probably written after ordination
The true priest.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 11
HoLiNESSE on the head,
Light and perfections on the breast,
Harmonious bells below, raising the dead
To leade them unto life and rest;
Thus are true Aarons drest. 5
Profanenesse in my head.
Defects and darknesse in my breast,
A noise of passions ringing me for dead
Unto a place where is no rest;
Poore priest thus am I drest. 10
1. Exodus xxviii, 36.
2. Light and perfections =1511111 and Thummim, Exo-
dus xxviii, 30.
3. In Exodus xxviii, 33-35, the robe of the High Priest
is described. On its lower hem it had rows of bells
and pomegranates. Herbert refers to Aaron's bell
again in Decay, V, 115, 1. 10.
8. Noise is again contrasted with music in The Fami-
LiE, V, 185, 1. 1.
13. Live= aXiye.
19. Old man. Colossians iii, 9. Vaughan in his Repent-
ance rewrites thus:
"Profaneness on my tongue doth rest.
Defects and darkness in my breast;
Pollutions all my body wed,
And even my soul to Thee is dead;
Only in Him on Whom I feast
Both soul and body are well drest."
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 13
Onely another head
I have, another heart and breast,
Another musick, making live not dead.
Without whom I could have no rest;
In him I am well drest. 15
Christ is my onely head,
My alone onely heart. and breast,
My onely musick, striking me ev'n dead,
That to the old man I may rest.
And be in him new drest. 20
So holy in my head.
Perfect and Ught in my deare breast.
My doctrine tun'd by Christ, (who is not dead,
But Kves in me while I do rest,)
Come people! Aaron's drest. 25
14 THE WINDOWS
Not found in W. Salisbury Cathedral is noted for
the number of its windows, which are said to be as
many as the days of the year.
The preacher's heavenly doctrine must shine
through his own life before it can affect those who
would see God.
2. Briitle. So The Priesthood, IV, 169, 1. 11.
3. Though Herbert often regards man as God's Tem-
ple (Man, IV, 11,1. 1-6; The Church-Floore,
V, 167; SiON, VI, 25), the word occurs in his
poems only here, in The Church-Porch, III, 63,
1. 423, SiON, VI, 25, 1. 2, The Church Militant,
VI, 135, 1. 225, and in the doubtful poem The
Convert, VI, 157, 1. 18. It occurs again in his
letter to his mother (1622), II, 209: God intends the
soul to be as a sacred temple for Himself to dwell
in. And in The Country Parson, XXI, the
parson is to build up this knowledge to a spirituall
6. Anneal. Glass which has been painted is after-
wards fired or annealed in order to fix the color. So
Love-Joy, V, 163, 1. 3.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 15
Lord, how can man preach thy eternall word ?
He is a brittle crazie glasse,
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
This glorious and transcendent place
To be a window, through thy grace. 5
But when thou dost anneal in glasse thy storie,
Making thy life to shine within
The holy Preachers, then the light and glorie
More rev'rend grows, and more doth
Which else shows watrish, bleak, and
Doctrine and Ufe, colours and Hght, in one
When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and aw; but speech alone
Doth vanish like a flaring thing.
And in the eare, not conscience ring. 15
16 THE HOLDFAST
The true ground of confidence.
Not found in W.
Of seventeen sonnets, six — like this — are in the
"It is God which worketh in you both to will and
to do of his good pleasure:" Philippians ii, 13.
1. Strict decree, Matthew v, 48.
6. Was, instead of is, indicating quotation.
13. 1 Corinthians xv, 22.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 17
I THREATNED to observe the strict decree
Of my deare God with all my power and
But I was told by one it could not be,
Yet I might trust in God to be my light.
Then will I trust, said I, in him alone. 5
Nay, ev'n to trust in him was also his;
We must conf esse that nothing is our own.
Then I confesse that he my succour is.
But to have nought is ours, not to confesse
That we have nought. I stood amaz'd at
Much troubled, till I heard a friend expresse
That all things were more ours by being his.
What Adam had, and forfeited for all,
Christ keepeth now, who cannot fail or fall.
18 THE 23 PSALME
For five other Psalms which are supposed to have
been translated by Herbert, see VI, 167-179.
Not found in W.
Used again in Submission, V, 205.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 19
THE 23 PSALME
The God of love my shepherd is,
And he that doth me feed.
While he is mine and I am his,
What can I want or need ?
He leads me to the tender grasse, 5
Where I both feed and rest.
Then to the streams that gently passe;
In both I have the best.
Or if I stray, he doth convert
And bring my minde in frame. 10
And all this not for my desert.
But for his holy name.
20 THE 23 PSALME
15. Thy rod is with me.
21-24. In this stanza one sees how sweetly and simply
Herbert could write when he designed to do so.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 21
Yea, in death's shadie black abode
Well may I walk, not fear;
For thou art with me, and thy rod 15
To guide, thy staffe to bear.
Nay, thou dost make me sit and dine
Ev'n in my enemies' sight.
My head with oyl, my cup with wine
Runnes over day and night. 20
Surely thy sweet and wondrous love
Shall measure all my dayes;
And as it never shall remove.
So neither shall my praise.
n THE ODOUR
"The same night that he had his Induction he said
to Mr. Woodnot: I have this day taken Jesus to be
my Master and Governour ; and I am so proud of his
service that I will always observe and obey and do
his Will, and alwaies call him Jesus my Master: "
Walton's Life. — "To testifie his independencie
upon all others, and to quicken his diligence in this
kinde, he used in his prdinarie speech, when he
made mention of the blessed name of our Lord and
Saviour, Jesus Christ, to adde, My Master: " Fer-
rar. Preface to The Temple. Cf. also John xiii, 13.
Used only here. The first and last line of each
stanza rhyme on the same word, thus assisting the
suggestion of a pervasive perfume.
Not found in W.
Love should yield a reciprocal fragrance, both to
lover and to loved.
3. Gray amber, a secretion of the spermaceti whale, is
found floating in lumps upon the sea, and is much
prized in perfumery. Milton refers to it in his " Am-
ber scent of odorous perfume : " Samson Agonistes,
1. 720. See, too. Sir T. Browne, Vulgar Errors, Bk.
Ill, ch. xxvi.
6. So The Banquet, t", 55, 1. 24.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 23
(2 CORINTHIANS II, 15)
How sweetly doth My Master sound! My Mas-
As Amber-greese leaves a rich sent
Unto the taster,
So do these words a sweet content,
An orientall fragrancie. My Master. 5
With these all day I do perfume my minde.
My minde ev'n thrust into them both,
That I might finde
What cordials make this curious broth,
This broth of smells, that feeds and fats my minde.
My Mastery shall I speak? O that to thee 11
My servant were a little so.
As flesh may be.
That these two words might creep and
To some degree of spicinesse to thee! d5
24 THE ODOUR
16. PoTnander (more fully described in The Banquet,
V, 55, 1. 25= a scent-ball, which when warmed in
the hand or crushed (1. 20) yields odor. Shake-
speare mentions it among a lady*s trinkets; Win-
ter's Tale, iv, 3: "A ribbon, glass, pomander,
brooch." And Bacon, Nat. Hist. Cent. 9, among
medical appHances: "They have in physick use
of pomanders and knots of powders for drying of
rheums, comforting of the heat, provoking of sleep,
&c." In short, it served the double purpose of the
17. That fragrance which formerly attended my ad-
dresses to thee would now be reflected back from
tiiee, and thus gain a double potency.
22. An uneven line is rare in Herbert.
25. Breathing = emission.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 25
Then should the Pomander, which was before
A speaking sweet, mend by reflection
And tell me more;
For pardon of my imperfection 19
Would warm and work it sweeter then before.
For when My Master, which alone is sweet
And ev'n in my unworthinesse pleasing,
Shall call and meet
My servant, as thee not displeasing,
That call is but the breathing of the sweet. 25
This breathing would with gains by sweetningme
(As sweet things traffick when they meet)
Return to thee;
And so this new commerce and sweet
Should all my hfe employ and busie me. 30
26 A TRUE HYMNE
Not found in W.
A poem is the utterance of feeKng; perfect, accord-
ing to the completeness with which that feeling is
2. Catches, proverbs, brief phrases saturated with
meaning, frequently run in Herbert's mind. So,
My Master, in The Odour, V, 23; Less then the
least of all thy mercies, in The Posie, V, 29;
Thou shall answer. Lord, for me, in The Quip,
V, 33; My God and King, in Antiphon, V, 63;
Them art still my God, in The Forerunners, VI,
10. Campion in the Preface to his Divine and Moral
Songs (1613) prettily writes : " In these English airs
I have chiefly aimed to couple my words and notes
lovingly together; which will be much for him to
do that hath not power over both."
14. 5e/tt7MZe=lacking. So L'Envoy, VI, 141, 1. 16.
15. In kinde= according to the true nature of a hymn.
Cf. Love, III, 85, 1. 25, and Nature, IV, 99, 1. 10.
20. Similar cases where feeling may be conceived as
interfering with rhyme are the last lines of Jordan,
III, 89; The Sacrifice, III, 143, 1. 215; Deniall,
IV, 95; Grief, VI, 83.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 27
A TRUE HYMNE
My joy, my life, my crown!
My heart was meaning all the day
Somewhat it fain would say;
And still it runneth mutt'ring up and down
With onely this. My joy, my life, my crown. 5
Yet slight not these few words.
If truly said, they may take part
Among the best in art.
The finenesse which a hymne or psalme affords
Is when the soul unto the lines accords. 10
He who craves all the minde.
And all the soul, and strength, and time.
If the words onely ryme,
Justly complains that somewhat is behinde
To make his verse, or write a hymne in kinde.
Whereas if th' heart be moved, 16
Although the verse be somewhat scant,
God doth supplie the want.
As when th' heart sayes (sighing to be approved)
0, could I love ! and stops: God writeth, Loved.
28 THE POSIE
Posie here means not a bunch of flowers, as in Life,
VI, 81, 1. 1, but a motto, as in Miserie, IV, 53,
1. 69. In this sense posie is a shortened form of
poesie, and is sometimes spelled so by old writers. It
is regularly used of inscriptions on glass, and love-
verses engraved in rings. I append a few of the
latter which I have met in old authors: I seek to
be not thine but thee; There is a time; Caught
and content; Let us be one till we are none; I
would be glad if you I had; Not too fast, but to
last; To live in love I love to live; Once mine,
always thine; There is no other, and lam he.
That loves no other, and thou art she; My joy I do
enjoy; Thy death is mine, my life is thine. —
Shakespeare uses posie in the same sense as Her-
bert. In The Merchant of Venice, v. 1, Gratiano
says he had a ring from his mistress,
"Whose posy was
For all the world like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, Love me and leave me not."
A notable revival of posie in its ancient sense is that
of Browning in his Introduction to The Ring and
the Book. After stating the facts which give form
to the Ring, he writes: "A ring without a posy, and
that ring mine ? " and so appends the love-verses of
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 29
Let wits contest,
And with their words and posies windows fill.
Lesse then the least
Of all thy merdes, is my posie still.
30 THE POSIE
Just before his death, when Herbert sent his poems
to Ferrar, he said: / and this book (The Temple)
are less than the least of God's mercies : Walton's
Life. — "We conclude all with his own Motto,
with which he used to conclude all things that
might seem to tend any way to his honour: Lesse
then the least of God's mercies: " Ferrar's Preface
to The Temple. ,
Not found in W.
The lover's delight in his own unworthiness.
3. Cf. Genesis xxxii, 10, with Ephesians iii, 8.
9, 10. Cf. the two JoRDANS, HI, 87 and 91.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 31
This on my ring, 5
This by my picture, in my book I write.
Whether I sing,
Or say, or dictate, this is my delight.
Comparisons go play, wit use thy will. 10
Lesse then the least
Of all God's mercies, is my posie still.
32 THE QUIP
Quip— quid pro quo, a repartee, retort, or home-
thrust (1. 24), as in Shakespeare's "Quip modest,"
As You Like It, v, 4. So, too, Lyly, Campaspe,
" Ps. Why, what's a quip ?
" Ma. Wee great girders call it a short saying of a sharpe
wit, with a bitter sense in a sweet word."
Vaughan imitates this poem in The Ornament.
Not found in W.
Used also in The Quidditie, III, 97.
The same that Herbert has often treated in earlier
periods of his career, — in The Quidditie, HI, 97;
The World, IV, 21; The Pearl, IV, 177. He
recounts the appeals that Beauty, Pleasure, Ambi-
tion, Wit, have made, calling him from that service
of God which he still feels to be a sufficient offset
to them. "In this time of his decay he would often
speak to this purpose: I now look back upon the
pleasures oj my life pasty and see the content I have
taken in beauty ^ in wit, in musicky and pleasant
Conversation, are now all past by me like a dream,
or as a shadow that returns not, and are now all
become dead to me, or I to them : " Walton's Life.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 33
The merrie world did on a day
With his train-bands and mates agree
To meet together where I lay,
And all in sport to geere at me.
First, Beautie crept into a rose; 5
Which when I pluckt not. Sir, said she.
Tell me, I pray, whose hands are those ?
But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me.
34 THE QUIP
2. Train-bands=mi\iiiay soldiery ; here, organized
7. Why do you not clutch at beauty ? So, too, in The
Collar, V, 213, 1. 18.
8. The Prayer-Book version of Psalm xxxviii, 15,
reads: "In thee, O Lord, have I put my trust;
thou shalt answer for me, O Lord, my God."
9. To Herbert money is not a serious temptation. His
most important poem on it is Avarice, V, 113.
He has also a few general precepts about it in The
Church-Porch, III, 33, 35, 1. 151-180, and occa-
sional mention elsewhere.
15. 1 do not understand this to mean: He granted me
only a glimpse; but. He declared that a person of
my dull life could only half perceive what glory is.
23. Some late editions print Thine, with a capital, as
if referring to God, and / to man. As printed in
ed. 1633, the overwhelming reply to every tempta-
tion promising gain is God*s voice, saying: "I am
thine. What gain is comparable?"
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 35
Then Money came, and chinking still.
What tune is this, poore man ? said he, 10
I heard in Musick you had skill.
But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me.
Then came brave Glorie puflSng by
In silks that whistled, who but he ?
He scarce allow'd me half an eie. 15
But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me.
Then came quick Wit and Conversation,
And he would needs a comfort be,
And, to be short, make an oration.
But thou shalt answer. Lord, for me. 20
Yet when the houre of thy designe
To answer these fine things shall come.
Speak not at large, say, I am thine;
And then they have their answer home.
36 CLASPING OF HANDS
Not found in W.
Unique. Throughout the poem only two rhymes
are used, — mme, thine, and more» restore.
"Either was the other's mine." Shakespeare's The
Phoenix and the Turtle, 1. 36. The subject requires
that this poem shall have but two stanzas, — re-
porting Me and Thee, — that these two shall be
fully identical in sense and sound, and only distin-
guishable through being approached from opposite
points of view. This thought of "making two
one" (The Search, V, 223, 1. 60) is also found in
Judgement, IV, 67, 1. 15; Artillerie, IV, 159,
1. 30; The Holdfast, V, 17, 1. 12.
1. Song of Solomon ii, 16.
6. Advantage= addition, like with gains, of The
Odour, V, 25, 1. 26. Cf. Shakespeare, King John,
" There is a soul counts thee her creditor.
And with advantage means to pay thy love."
This line forms the turn in each stanza; cf. 1. 16.
7. Being mine—o. verbal noun, with this as its adjec-
Vn. THE HAPPY PRIEST 37
CLASPING OF HANDS
Lord, thou art mine, and I am thine.
If mine I am; and thine much more
Then I or ought or can be mine.
Yet to be thine doth me restore;
So that again I now am mine, 5
And with advantage mine the more.
Since this being mine brings with it thine,
And thou with me dost thee restore.
If I without thee would be mine,
I neither should be mine nor thine. 10
Lord, I am thine, and thou art mine;
So mine thou art that something more
I may presume thee mine then thine.
For thou didst sujffer to restore
Not thee, but me, and to be mine, 15
And with advantage mine the more.
Since thou in death wast none of thine,
Yet then as mine didst me restore.
O be mine still! Still make me thine!
Or rather make no Thine and Mine!
Herbert generally uses Paradise in this sense, re-
ferring to a garden, and primarily to the Garden of
Eden. The only passages, I believe, in which the
word is used in the sense of Heaven, are: Sunday,
III, 179, 1. 56, The Flower, VI, 67, 1. 23 and 49,
and Perseverance, VI, 155, 1. 10. — The Coun-
try Parson (XXXII) is to dresse and prune them,
and take as much joy in a straight-growing childe
or servant as a Gardiner doth in a choice tree.
Not found in W.
Used also in Trinitie-Sunday, III, 161.
The careful pruning of the divine husbandman
symbolized by the elimination of letters from a
rhyme, — possibly suggested to Herbert by the trim-
ming of trees in the artificial gardens of his time.
2. Thy trees. He writes as if he were already a priest.
He alludes to the ordering of gardens again in Sun-
day, III, 177, 1. 27, and The Familie, V, 185, 1. 12.
10. Spare probably means refrain from, as in Giddi*
nesse, V, 129, 1. 12, and elsewhere. The rhyme
with are occurs in The British Church, V, 101,
15. rowc^= attain. So Donne, Forbidding Mourning,
1. 36: "And makes me end where I begun."
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 39
I BLESSE thee, Lord, because I g r o w
Among thy trees, which in a r o w
To thee both fruit and order o w.
What open force or hidden charm
Can blast my fruit, or bring me harm, 5
While the inclosure is thine arm?
Inclose me still for fear I start.
Be to me rather sharp and tart
Then let me want thy hand and art. 9
When thou dost greater judgements spare,
And with thy knife but prune and pare,
Ev'n fruitfuU trees more fruitfuU are.
Such sharpnes shows the sweetest frend,
Such cuttings rather heal then rend,
And such beginnings touch their end. 15
Not found in W.
Grant — Thou who hast already granted so much
— grant rest in thyself and thankfulness.
"Would I could wish my wishes all to rest.
And know to wish the wish that were the best ! "
A. H. Clough's Love is Fellow-Service.
2. Notes and Queries for November 2, 1850, quotes
Shakespeare, 2 Henry VI, i, 1 :
"O Lord, that lends me life.
Lend me a heart replete with thankfulness!"
13-16. A reckoning of what it would come to.
16. And though it is already much, keeps coming for
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 41
Thou that hast giv'n so much to me,
Give one thing more, a gratefull heart.
See how thy beggar works on thee
He makes thy gifts occasion more, 5
And sayes. If he in this be crost,
All thou hast giv'n him heretofore
But thou didst reckon, when at first
Thy word our hearts and hands did crave.
What it would come to at the worst 11
Perpetuall knockings at thy doore,
Tears sullying thy transparent rooms,
Gift upon gift, much would have more, 15
17. Thou wentst on, so Even-Song, V, 61, 1. 17.
19. SiON, VI, 25, 1. 18.
22. Cf . Donne, A Litanie, xxiii, 1 :
A siimer is more music when he prays
Than spheres' or angels' praises be."
27. In Ungratefulnesse, IV, 41, 1. 26, we learn that
the only thing God demands of us is a grateful
heart. This poem shows how even this must be
accepted from Him.
30. Days of omission, containing no blessing.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 43
This notwithstanding, thou wentst on
And didst allow us all our noise.
Nay, thou hast made a sigh and grone
Thy joyes. 20
Not that thou hast not still above
Much better tunes then grones can make.
But that these countrey-aires thy love
Wherefore I crie and crie again, 25
And in no quiet canst thou be
Till I a thankfull heart obtain
Not thankfull when it pleaseth me,
As if thy blessings had spare dayes, 30
But such a heart whose pulse may be
Two other poems with this title are given, III, 95
and IV, 193.
Not found in W.
Praise of God for his watchful efficiency.
1. Jlifea?i=intend, aim at, — so Justice, VI, 13, 1. 9.
5. Wring. So in Love Unknown, V, 179, 1. 17.
6. Cf. the refrain of Praise, III, 95.
9. Cf. The Eldcer, III, 99, 1. 8.
13. 0/i=against, adversely to.
15. Is Herbert here remembering the Chain of Zeus ?
Homer, lUad, VHI, 19-27.
17. Exodus xiv, 25.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 45
Lord, I will mean and speak thy praise,
Thy praise alone.
My busie heart shall spin it all my dayes;
And when it stops for want of store.
Then will I wring it with a sigh or grone, 5
That thou mayst yet have more.
When thou dost favour any action.
It runnes, it flies;
All things concurre to give it a perfection.
That which had but two legs before, 10
When thou dost blesse, hath twelve. One wheel
To twentie then, or more.
But when thou dost on businesse blow.
It hangs, it clogs;
Not all the teams of Albion in a row 15
Can hale or draw it out of doore.
Legs are but stumps, and Pharaoh's wheels but
And struggling hinders more.
22. The sea his shore. So Providence, V, 83, 1. 48.
23. Stint=hovLnd3y restraint.
24. In a letter thanking King James for his book, he
says of him; O prudentiam incompardbilem, quae
eodem vvltu et moderatur mundum et nos respidt
27. Psahn Ivi, 8. Cf. Hope, V, 203, 1. 5.
30. In heaven provision is made for more repentance
than I have shown.
33. Old battle-flags hung up within a church. — Which
refers to drop, not to eye.
36. Referring back to the bottle of 1. 27. A Uttle of
God's grief over my sin is weightier than all my
38. The pressure promised in 1. 5.
40. At «se= usury, interest. Cf. for the thought, Obe-
dience, IV, 183, 1. 42, and An Offering, IV, 189,
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 47
Thousands of things do thee employ
In ruling all 20
This spacious globe: Angels must have their joy,
Devils their rod, the sea his shore.
The windes their stint. And yet when I did call.
Thou heardst my call, and more.
I have not lost one single tear. 25
But when mine eyes
Did weep to heav'n, they found a bottle there
(As we have boxes for the poore)
Readie to take them in; yet of a size
That would contain much more. 30
But after thou hadst sUpt a drop
From thy right eye,
(Which there did hang Uke streamers neare the
Of some fair church, to show the sore
And bloudie battell which thou once didst trie) 35
The glasse was full and more.
Wherefore I sing. Yet since my heart.
Though press'd, runnes thin,
O that I might some other hearts convert.
And so take up at use good store; 40
That to thy chests there might be coming in
Both all my praise and more!
48 THE INVITATION
Not found in W.
Used also in the next poem, The Banquet.
Ho, every one that thirsteth, — whether for food,
wine, ease, joy, or love, — come to the banquet and
find what will elsewhere be vainly sought. Cf.
Isaiah Iv, 1.
1. jTas^e = appetite.
4. The Priesthood, IV, 171, 1. 27.
8. Whose character wine determines, — as winebib-
bers, drunkards, — with possibly a play upon the
word, i. e. it empties of fineness. Cf. Donne, Anat-
omic of the World, 37: "Her name defined thee,
gave thee form and frame." And The Country
Parson, XXVI: One ad in these things is had, hut
it is the custome and habit that names a glutton.
15. The same thought in Miserie, IV, 49, 1. 22.
18. Fright. The terror one would naturally feel at his
sin becoming visible is here felt for sin itself.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 49
Come ye hither all whose taste
Is your waste.
Save your cost and mend your fare.
God is here prepared and drest,
And the feast, 5
God, in whom all dainties are.
Come ye hither all whom wine
Naming you not to your good.
Weep what ye have drunk amisse, 10
And drink this.
Which before ye drink is bloud.
Come ye hither all whom pain
Bringing all your sinnes to sight. 15
Taste and fear not. God is here
In this cheer,
And on sinne doth cast the fright.
60 THE INVITATION
23. Such delight as you have known hitherto.
26. Doves draw the celestial car of Venus.
28. This contrast between divine and human love is
expounded at length in Two Sonnets, III, 79, and
in Love, HI, 83.
31. Luke xiv, 13.
36. Where God is, there all people should be.
Vn. THE HAPPY PRIEST 51
Come ye hither all whom joy
Doth destroy, 20
While ye graze without your bounds.
Here is joy that drowneth quite
As a floud the lower grounds.
Come ye hither all whose love 25
Is your dove.
And exalts you to the skie.
Here is love which, having breath
Ev'n in death,
After death can never die. 30
Lord I have invited all.
And I shall
Still invite, still call to thee.
For it seems but just and right
In my sight, 35
Where is all, there all should be.
52 THE BANQUET
Not found in W.
Used also in the preceding poem, The Invitation.
The marvellous delicacy of God's table.
4. Neatnesse (cf. Man, IV, 17, 1. 42, and The
Familie, V, 185, 1. 8) is Herbert's frequent word
for refined beauty. Dr. Willmott well quotes Mil-
ton's line in his Sdnnet to Mr. Lawrence: "What
neat repast shall feast us, light and choice ? "
13. Sweetnesse here, as usually with Herbert, refers to
the smell, not the taste. In five stanzas of the poem
it is mentioned.
14. Made a head. We say made headway. Cf . The
Sacrifice, III, 123, 1. 5.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 53
Welcome sweet and sacred cheer,
With me, in me, live and dwell;
For thy neatnesse passeth sight.
Thy delight 5
Passeth tongue to taste or tell.
O what sweetnesse from the bowl
Fills my soul,
Such as is and makes divine!
Is some starre (fled from the sphere) 10
As we sugar melt in wine ?
Or hath sweetnesse in the bread
Made a head
To subdue the smell of sinne; 15
Flowers, and gummes, and powders giving
All their living.
Lest the enemie should winne ?
54 THE BANQUET
19. The starve of the second stanza, the flower of the
24. So The Odour, V, 23, 1. 6.
25. Pomander =3ceiit-ha31. Cf. The Odoue, V, 25,
26. Still=at all times.
31. Cf. Vanitie, IV, 153, 1. 13.
34. Took bloud=hecajne man.
35. 2 Samuel xiv, 14.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 55
Doubtlesse neither starre nor flower
Hath the power 20
Such a sweetnesse to impart.
Onely God, who gives perfumes,
And with it perfumes my heart.
But as Pomanders and wood 25
Still are good.
Yet being bruis'd are better sented,
God to show how farre his love
Here, as broken, is presented. 30
When I had forgot my birth.
And on earth
In delights of earth was drown'd,
God took bloud and needs would be
Spilt with me, 35
And so found me on the ground.
56 THE BANQUET
41. Farre pom both the heavenly and the earthly
43. Cf. Praise, III, 95, 1. 5.
49. The jyitie God has shown in the Incarnation.
50. My theme, as in The Forerunners, VI, 77,
51. Lines and Zi/e= verse and action, repeated in hands
and breath of I. 53. So, too, The Collar, V, 211,
1. 4. Deed and storie of Complaining, VI, 27,
1. 7, is similar.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 57
Having rais'd me to look up,
In a cup
Sweetly he doth meet my taste.
But I still being low and short, 40
Farre from court,
Wine becomes a wing at last.
For with it alone I flie
To the skie;
Where I wipe mine eyes, and see 45
What I seek, for what I sue.
Him I view
Who hath done so much for me.
Let the wonder of this pitie
Be my dittie, 50
And take up my lines and life.
Hearken, under pain of death.
Hands and breath,
Strive in this and love the strife.
This poem is not in W., but in place of it appears
the poem given, VI, 151.
Unique. The stanzas are arranged in pairs, by
making the second and eighth Hues long.
Eyes, light, and power, and the cessation of all three,
equally express the love of God. The poem is
divided into two parts, by the employment in the
fourth and eighth stanzas of a special rhyming
system. The first part shows how Kttle I bring
to God; the second, how much He brings to me.
Is it fanciful to suggest that the first two stanzas
of each part discuss eyes and light; the third
7. Psalm cxxx, 3. But I am now protected against
8. His Sonne. The double meaning is expanded and
discussed in The Sonne, V, 161.
14. Cf. Nature, IV, 99, 1. 9.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 59
Blest be the God of love,
Who gave me eyes, and Ught, and power this day
Both to be busie and to play.
But much more blest be God above
Who gave me sight alone, 5
Which to himseK he did denie;
For when he sees my waies, I dy,
But I have got his sonne, and he hath none.
What have I brought thee home
For this thy love ? Have I discharg'd the debt 10
Which this dayes favour did beget ?
I ranne, but all I brought was fome.
Thy diet, care, and cost
Do end in bubbles, balls of winde;
Of winde to thee whom I have crost, 15
But balls of wilde-fire to my troubled minde.
17. So Gratefulnesse, V, 43, 1. 17. Possibly still
here may have its modern meaning of notwithstand-
ingy instead of its usual meaning in Herbert of
18. Cf . Man, IV, 17, 1. 32.
26. The contrasts of day and night are those of activity
30. Eludes thy heart's care.
32. Then=iliaiL. Romans viii, 35.
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST 61
Yet still thou goest on,
And now with darknesse closest wearie eyes,
Saying to man. It doth suffice.
Henceforth repose. Your work is done. 20
Thus in thy Ebony box
Thou dost inclose us, till the day
Put our amendment in our way.
And give new wheels to our disorder'd clocks.
I muse which shows more love, 25
The day or night : that is the gale, this th' harbour;
That is the walk, and this the arbour;
Or that the garden, this the grove.
My God, thou art all love.
Not one poore minute 'scapes thy breast
But brings a favour from above. 31
And in this love, more then in bed, I rest.
Antiphon is the chant or singing of a choir in
church, in which strain answers strain. It is de-
scribed in Christmas, III, 169, 1. 32. Another
poem with this title is given. III, 107.
Not found in W.
A call for universal praise, from all above and all
below. Psalm cxlviii.
2. Cf. Jordan, III, 89, 1. 15, and The Elixer, III,
VII. THE HAPPY PRIEST
Cho. Let all the world in ev'ry corner sing,
My God and King.
Vers. The heav'ns are not too high,
His praise may thither flie.
The earth is not too low, 5
His praises there may grow.
Cho. Let all the world in ev'ry corner sing,
My God and King.
Vers. The church with psalms must shout.
No doore can keep them out. 10
But above all, the heart
Must bear the longest part.
Cho. Let all the world in ev'ry corner sing,
My God and King.
HerherVs subscription at his Ordination^ showing also other hand-
writing of the time ; from t/ie Record Ojfice, Salisbury.
I ^■\ <^ '^'^ / ^ ^^ T - '
MANY persons find the reflective poetry of
Herbert the most agreeable portion of The
Temple. The more personal poems call for larger
historical and artistic imagination than most of
us care to supply. To reconstruct their reality
we must project ourselves into conditions of mind
which belong to a bygone age; and few are willing,
or even able, to detach themselves from their own
time and feel the humanity in types of emotion
which look fictitious because unfamiliar. Or if
we take the very probable view that in these poems,
as in Shakespeare's or Sidney's Sonnets, art is as
much concerned as emotion, the chance that Her-
bert's eager songs will be understood becomes
more slender still. For art is little known or hon-
ored among us. It interests but few to see a feeling
taking its rise in some experience of a poet, then
purged of whatever checks its coherence, and
gradually furnished with all that can lend it ful-
ness and precision, until it finally comes forth pal-
pitating with fresh and irresponsible life, and ex-
hibits with a completeness not otherwise possible
an isolated section of the complex soul of man.
Indeed, busy and matter-of-fact folk are disposed
to suspect falsehood in anything which bears the
68 PREFACE TO
marks of art, and to count only those emotions
genuine which are poured out with the sponta-
neous disorderliness of nature. Where such instinc-
tive presuppositions exist, the subtle adjustments
and intricate accords by means of which Herbert
idealizes passions which to-day are but sUghtly
felt will to a considerable extent remove his per-
sonal poems from sympathy. Work which charms
the lover of exquisite art, and beautiful records of
earlier habits of mind which fascinate the imagi-
native student of spiritual history, will be easily
discarded as artificial and full of conceits.
But even then the reflective poetry of Herbert
remains. Art is not usually felt to be a disturber
of meditation, but rather to be required in utter-
ances of profound thought. Herbert's intellectual
verse has accordingly been prized by many who
have regarded his emotional with something like
contempt. I do not myself think the two kinds can
be fully parted. Herbert puts passion into every-
thing, and everything he rationalizes. Yet I have
thought I might render him more accessible to all
tastes if here among the Bemerton poems, as pre-
viously among those of the Cambridge years, I place
in a special Group those which are least marked
by the personal note. Here stand the compact
pieces of wisdom which were shaped in the Wilt-
shire study. Some of them may have been brought
over half-finished from Cambridge, Dauntsey, or
Baynton. But in Bemerton they received their
BEMERTON STUDY 69
final form, and they appear only in the manuscript
of Herbert's later years.
In this more abstract and contemplative species
of verse Herbert is able to exhibit with fullest ad-
vantage one of his chief literary merits, I mean his
power to charge a few common words with more
meaning than they easily carry. The phrase
strains; the thought obtrudes beyond the words.
By audacity of diction Herbert forces his reader —
his energetic reader — to approach at some strange
angle new aspects of old truths. We all know the
aphoristic force of the EKzabethan and Jacobean
poets. They were no mere epigrammatists, like
the Queen Anne's men. They cared nothing for
propriety, and kept their thoughts on things rather
than on words. But nobody has ever been able to
fashion a phrase with greater certainty that it will
stick in the mind which it once enters. In this
penetrative power Herbert stands among the fore-
most of his age. Few poets are more quotable. He
abounds in those " jewels five words long which
on the stretched forefinger of all time sparkle
forever." Yet his sententious power is not satis-
fied with creating scattered phrases ; these are but
the material out of which a pathetic, gay, or saga-
cious whole is firmly fashioned. The general in-
tellectual tone appropriate to each poem is to
Herbert's mind a matter of much consequence,
and the phrasing which would enter fitly into one
is not allowed to disturb the poise of another.
70 PREFACE TO
Let any reader compare Peace and Dotage,
CoNSTANCiE and The Bag, or either of these
with Vanitie or Vertue, and he will see how
harmoniously selective is Herbert's craftsmanship,
how free he is from anything like a single fixed
style. All this is less felt because without special
training on the reader's part Herbert is difficult
to follow. He moves at great speed through strange
and tangled regions. He loves "by indirection to
find direction out." He does not concern himself
with his reader, but with getting his own mind
I have set at the head of this Group Herbert's
profoundest philosophic study, Providence. The
first impression it will give is that it is queer. Cer-
tain lines will seem positively comic. I do not
think this fact would have disturbed Herbert, or
have brought him to admit the need of change,
any more than similar facts in the poetry of Words-
worth, Browning, and Emerson ever worried those
explorers of the human soul. Such poets write
for themselves, and merely allow other men to
listen while they think. Providence is a mas-
terly survey of a closely ordered universe which
culminates in man. While lacking modern scien-
tific equipment, trusting too to Aristotelic methods
more than would to-day be generally approved,
and consequently often mistaking small things for
great, Herbert shows a keenness of observation,
an ability to group together similar but outwardly
BEMERTON STUDY 71
unlike facts, and a prevision even of modern
evolutional points of view, which prove him to have
been a man of real grasp in subjects lying outside
his special religious themes. The wording is strong
throughout, in parts rising to an easy majesty not
reached by him elsewhere.
After Providence I place discussions of several
features of the Church and its partially detached
members, which lead to consideration of the dif-
ferences between the BibKcal Church and our
own. CoNSTANCiE and The Foil show how un-
shakable a man may become through righteous-
ness; and then his complex and vacillating nature
is shown in Man's Medley, Giddinesse, Van-
iTiE, Dotage, Businesse, Sinnes Round, and
The Water-Course. The pessimistic view of
man's condition is a favorite with Herbert both
on religious and poetic grounds. It shows the need
of Atonement, and lends itself to decidedly pic-
turesque treatment. The Pulley and Marie
Magdalene point out our way of delivery from
restlessness. The Passion of our Lord is set forth
in several poems which from style I should sup-
pose to be written early, but which are not in-
cluded in the Williams Manuscript. At the end
of the Group I have placed half-a-dozen trifles in
which the fancy of Herbert plays sweetly with its
74 TO MY SUCCESSOR
These Knes, though not originally included in The
Temple, may well find a place here. They were
first printed in Walton's Life: "He then proceeded
to rebuild the greatest part of the Parsonage-house,
which he did also very compleatly, and at his own
charge; and having done this good work, he caus'd
these Verses to be writ upon or ingraven in, the
Mantle of the Chimney in his Hall. " If this inscrip-
tion ever existed at Bemerton, it long ago disap-
peared. In recent years it has again been inscribed
on the side of the Parsonage facing the Church.
Thomas Fuller gives a variant of it in his Holy
and Profane State, 1642: "A clergyman who built
his house from the ground wrote on it this counsel
to his successor:
" If thou dost find
An house built to thy mind,
Without thy cost,
Serve thou the more
God and the poor;
My labour is not lost."
Bemerton Rectory. See Vol. /, p. 41.
Vm. BEMERTON STUDY 75
TO MY SUCCESSOR
If thou chance for to find
A new House to thy mind.
And built without thy Cost,
Be good to the Poor,
As God gives thee store,
And then my Labour's not lost.
Not found in W. This is the most considerable
poem of the Bemerton years, in style far removed
from The Church-Poech. Possibly it was begun
at Cambridge, where Man was written, but, being
reserved for correction and addition, was on this
account not included in W. It certainly was fin-
ished after Herbert's poetic powers had become fully
formed, and was intended, as its closing stanzas
indicate, as a kind of cHmax and epitome of all his
thought. Seldom elsewhere does he treat facts in
so objective a fashion. Providence was translated
into Latin in 1678 by William Dillingham.
Unique in stanza form. But alternate rhyming
pentameters are also used by Herbert in A Wreath,
IV, 115, Love Unknown, V, 179, and Grief,
VI, 83. This stanza, the heroic quatrain, first
used by Surrey, had been consecrated to philo-
sophical reflection by Sir John Davies in his Nosce
Teipsum. It was also used by Sylvester in his
Urania, by Southwell in his Vale of Tears, and by
Donne in several of his Epistles (among them one
to Herbert's mother); subsequently by BeaumoAt
in his Psyche, by Davenant in Gondibert, by
Dryden in his OHver Cromwell and Annus Mira-
bilis, and by Gray in his Elegy.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 77
"O Lord, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom
hast thou made them all : " Psalm civ, 24. Through-
out this poem Herbert has in mind the 104th Psalm,
which in King James' Version is entitled, "An ex-
hortation to bless the Lord for his mighty power
and wonderful providence." But the Psalm merely
sets forth the many marvels of the world; while the
poem is a description of a world so ordered by
evolutionary plan that the higher grades continually
grow out of the lower and bring the significance
of these to Hght. The conception of an organized
universe with man as its crown (cf. Man, IV, 11)
was first announced by Aristotle. Herbert may
have derived his thought from some such passage as
Metaph. XI, 10: "Whatever exists — fish, bird, or
plant — has its special place in the scheme of things.
There is nothing isolated and unrelated. All have
reference to a common unity. While each part has
its separate sphere, all also unite and contribute to
the good of the whole." The poem has four parts:
1. An Introduction (1. 1-28) on man's supreme and
priestly character; after which comes the Psalm
itself in two divisions; 2, the first (1. 29-92), cele-
brating the fulness of God's house; and 3, the
* second (1. 93-140), pointing out God's curious
art in marshalling his goods. 4. A conclusion fol-
lows (1. 141-152), announcing the obHgation and
inadequacy of praise.
1. Wisdom viii, 1. "Attingit a fine usque ad finem
fortiter et disponit omnia suaviter." Wisdom
reacheth from one end to another mightily; and
sweetly doth she order all things.
A. Do thee right (one of Herbert's few puns) = do thee
8. Donne had already written (Satire, 1. 6): "Here is
Nature's Secretary, the philosopher; " and Walton
in his Life of Herbert calls Lord Bacon "the great
Secretary of Nature." When Sylvester in Urania
is urging the poets to write on sacred instead of
secular themes, he says that then " all w^'ould admire
your rymes and do you honour As Secretaries of
the Heav'nly Court," 1. 185.
9. Dittie^ — seek to give words to their songs, as in
The Sacrifice, HI, 137, 1. 142, and The Fore-
runners, VI, 77, 1. 11. The thought is repeated
in MiSERiE, IV, 51, 1. 55-60.
12. Psalm cxlv, 10.
13. On the publication of Bacon's Instauratio Magna
Herbert addressed him in a Latin poem as Mun-
dique et animarum Sacerdos uniciis. •»
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 79
O SACRED Providence, who from end to end
Strongly and sweetly movest! Shall I write,
And not of thee through whom my fingers bend
To hold my quill ? Shall they not do thee right ?
Of all the creatures both in sea and land 5
Onely to Man thou hast made known thy wayes.
And put the penne alone into his hand.
And made him Secretarie of thy praise.
Beasts fain would sing; birds dittie to their notes;
Trees would be tuning on their native lute 10
To thy renown; but all their hands and throats
Are brought to Man, while ^they are lame and
Man is the world's high Priest. He doth present
The sacrifice for all; while they below
Unto the service mutter an assent, 15
Such as springs use that fall and windes that
21-24. A tongue exists in you, beasts, tliat you may eat,
in me that I may praise; as your fingers, O trees,
can only offer fruit, while mine must write.
27. i?e7i]^= recompense for use, not merely that derived
from lands and houses as with us (cf. Content,
IV, 151, 1. 28), but here from reason and speech.
31. Repeated from 1. 2.
32. So The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 8.
33-35. In Herbert's mind there is probably some cor-
respondence between the pair of terms of this
stanza, command and permission, and the pair of
the previous one, power and love. But if so, it is
far from clear what the nature of the correspond-
ence is. It is not easy to see how loving permis-
sion should operate negatively as a curb, in contrast
to the stimulating influence of command. In none
of the four poems where power and love are coupled
(Prayer, III, 185, 1. 20; The Temper, IV, 113,
1. 27; The Method, V, 197, 1. 7; The Church
Militant, VI, 119, 1. 10) is love represented as
either permissive or restrictive. Perhaps this stanza
may be explained thus : Action springs either from
a sense of duty (divine command) or from natural
instincts (permitted by God), which check that
sluggishness and waste through indolence which
are seldom absent from Herbert's thought of sin.
(Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 19, 1. 38-96, and
55, 1. 337-342; Employment, III, 103.)
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 81
He that to praise and laud thee doth refrain
Doth not refrain unto himself alone,
But robs a thousand who would praise thee fain,
And doth commit a world of sinne in one. 20
The beasts say. Eat me; but if beasts must teach,
The tongue is yours to eat, but mine to praise.
The trees say. Pull me; but the hand you stretch
Is mine to write, as it is yours to raise.
Wherefore, most sacred Spirit, I here present 25
For me and all my fellows praise to thee.
And just it is that I should pay the rent.
Because the benefit accrues to me.
We all acknowledge both thy power and love
To be exact, transcendent, and divine; 30
Who dost so strongly and so sweetly move,
While all things have their will, yet none but
For either thy command or thy permission
Lay hands on all. They are thy right and left.
The first puts on with speed and expedition, 35
The other curbs sinne's stealing pace and theft.
40. The mention of tuning and tempering in the preced-
ing lines suggests to Herbert how deeply we should
be affected if all divine concords could be rendered
audible, as in the supposed music of the spheres.
(Artillerie, rV, 157, 1. 9.)
41-44. Cf. The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 1-4.
42. Even=hala,nced, constant. An equally unusual
use of uneven appears in Faith, IV, 31, 1. 32.
45. Psalm kv, 7.
48. Jeremiah v, 22; Job xxxviii, 11.
49. Psahn civ, 27; Man, IV, 15,1. 29.
51. The net of the fish is its wide mouth.
53. Nothing comes into the world before its fit food is
56. Their, i. e. the creatures of the preceding line.
VIIl. BEMERTON STUDY 83
Nothing escapes them both. All must appeare,
And be dispos'd, and dress'd, and tun'd by thee,
Who sweetly temper' st all. If we could heare
Thy skill and art, what musick would it be! 40
Thou art in small things great, not small in any,
Thy even praise can neither rise nor fall.
Thou art in all things one, in each thing many.
For thou art infinite in one and all.
Tempests are calm to thee. They know thy hand,
And hold it fast, as children do their father's,
Which crie and follow. Thou hast made poore
Check the proud sea, ev'n when it swells and
Thy cupboard serves the world. The meat is set
Where all may reach. No beast but knows his
Birds teach us hawking; fishes have their net;
The great prey on the lesse, they on some weed.
Nothing ingendred doth prevent his meat :
Flies have their table spread, ere they appeare;
Some creatures have in winter what to eat, 55
Others do sleep, and envie not their cheer.
58. Tvnst=coTd. So The Pearl, IV, 179, 1. 38.
61-72. In these three stanzas Herbert traces the economy
of the universe, and shows how in each created thing
there is a provision for maintaining its type. The
old bird helps the young one, and so makes him
strong enough to help himself. Nowhere does na-
ture allow real loss, but through some circuitous
process what has been spent is eventually restored.
Bees draw food from flowers, but without harm to
flower, bee, or man. Flowers are consumed by cat-
tle, yet from cattle obtain their needed nutriment.
Such nutriment feeds trees, which contribute their
leaves to make soil for other trees. Out of the soil
streams run into the sea, and from it, by way of the
clouds, are themselves renewed. Clouds, produced
by the sun's heat, become cooled and descend to
form fresh springs. And springs can boil up in obe-
dience to inner heat only when they at the same
time send off from their cool upper surface that
vapor from which they are ultimately resupplied.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 85
How finely dost thou times and seasons spin,
And make a twist checker'd with night and day !
Which as it lengthens windes, and windes us in,
As bouls go on, but turning all the way. 60
Each creature hath a wisdome for his good.
The pigeons feed their tender off-spring, crjdng.
When they are callow; but withdraw their food
When they are fledge, that need may teach them
Bees work for man; and yet they never bruise
Their master's flower, but leave it, having done.
As fair as ever and as fit to use;
So both the flower doth stay, and hony run.
Sheep eat the grasse and dung the ground for
Trees, after bearing, drop their leaves for soil.
Springs vent their streams, and by expense get
Clouds cool by heat, and baths by cooling boil.
86 PROVIDENCE .
75-76. T hat = tor expression. Herbert, always looging
for larger powers of expression (cf. Praise, III, 95,
DuLNEssE, V, 207, and The Forerunners, VI,
77), wonders if an herb may not one day be dis-
covered which will quicken speech. The subtle
influence of certain herbs over mental conditions
was at that time attracting attention. Tobacco
and tea had just been introduced. Macbeth al-
ready knows "the insane root that takes the reason
captive;" and Othello "the poppy and mandragora
and all the drowsy syrops of the world."
77-80. Herbert has great interest in the stars, and ever
incKnes to a belief in astrology. Such passages as
The Pearl, IV, 177, 1. 5, The Foil, V, 123, and
Vanitie, V, 133, 1. 7, are frequent; and the three
strange poems which are wholly dedicated to the
stars — Artillerie, IV, 157, The Starre, IV, 161,
and The Storm, VI, 23 — suggest, whatever else,
an easy access of celestial influence. The thought
of this verse is compressed. A star, like the rose,
is beautiful. Perhaps its virtues will eventuaUy
be directed, like those of the rose, to our heal-
ing. Undoubtedly there is in it abundant power
for weal or woe, did we but know how to use it.
Astrology is true, but the astrologist cannot find it :
Jacula Prudentum. On the medicinal powers
of the flower, see The Rose, IV, 187, 1. 18.
83-84. Repeated in Avarice, V, 113, 1. 14.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 87
Who hath the vertue to expresse the rare
And curious vertues both of herbs and stones ?
Is there an herb for that ? O that thy care 75
Would show a root that gives expressions!
And if an herb hath power, what have the starres ?
A rose, besides his beautie, is a cure.
Doubtlesse our plagues and plentie, peace and
Are there much surer then our art is sure. 80
Thou hast hid metals. Man may take them thence,
But at his perill. When he digs the place,
He makes a grave; as if the thing had sense,
And threatned man that he should fill the space.
86. No creature is allowed through want of know-
ledge to be destroyed by poison or to miss the
antidote it needs. With this and with 1. 105 com-
pare Herbert's Oration on the Return op
Charles from Spain: Unamquamque regionem
suam sibi sufjicere, neque externis indigere auxiliis
88. The /ear = the dreaded object.
96. South f where cool surfaces are welcome; North,
where protection is needed against cold.
97. Good-cheap is dear : Jacula Prudentum.
100. The harsh but stimulating cold is as needful for
man as the easily gathered fruits.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 89
Ev'n poysons praise thee. Should a thing be lost ?
Should creatures want for want of heed their
Since where are poysons, antidots are most; 87
The help stands close and keeps the fear in view.
The sea, which seems to stop the traveller.
Is by a ship the speedier passage made. 90
The windes, who think they rule the mariner,
Are rul'd by him and taught to serve his trade.
And as thy house is full, so I adore
Thy curious art in marshalHng thy goods.
The hills with health abound; the vales with
The South with marble ; North with furres and
Hard things are glorious; easie things good cheap.
The common all men have ; that which is rare
Men therefore seek to have and care to keep.
The healthy frosts with summer-fruits compare.
102. S^a(Ze=theshelterfonned by overhanging branches.
103-4. Tall and low are contrasted, the one meaning
far from the ground, the other near to it. Low
is used in the same sense in The Banquet, V,
57, I. 40.
104. Hawks are mentioned in 1. 51, in The Sacrifice,
III, 131, 1. 91, and alluded to in The Pearl, IV,
179, 1. 32. Other sports named by Herbert are
bowling, fencing, archery, and cards ; but he no-
where mentions ball-play, hunting, or dancing.
112. In desire=a3 much as he needs. Cf. 1. 105.
11^. Lay gather' di i. e. into lakes and the ocean. —
JBroac/t=tap, so as to make streams run, as in
DiviNiTiE, V, 99, 1. 9.
118. Hcmy cZrop5= drops which make honey.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 91
Light without winde is glasse; warm without
Is wool! and furres; cool without closenesse,
Speed without pains, a horse; tall without height,
A servile hawk; low without losse, a spade.
All countreys have enough to serve their need. 105
If they seek fine things, thou dost make them run
For their offence; and then dost turn their speed
To be commerce and trade from sunne to sunne.
Nothing wears clothes but Man; nothing doth
But he to wear them. Nothing useth fire 110
But Man alone, to show his heav'nly breed.
And onely he hath fuell in desire.
When th' earth was dry, thou mad'st a sea of wet.
When that lay gather'd, thou didst broach the
When yet some places could no moisture get, 115
The windes grew gard'ners, and the clouds good
Rain, do not hurt my flowers, but gently spend
Your hony drops! Presse not to smell them
When they are ripe, their odour will ascend 119
And at your lodging with their thanks appeare.
121-124. Good qualities are sometimes divided, as
in this stanza; sometimes united, as in the next.
126. Indian wwi=cocoanut.
129-132. Besides the medical observations of this
verse, others occur in 1. 78, 87, 100. For Herbert's
general interest in medicine, see his Country
Parson, XXIII; and for the similar interest of
his brother, Lord Herbert, see Autobiography,
Lee's ed., p. 52-59.
133. Lea'p not: "Natura non facit saltum." There is
no gap in nature or unfilled gradation, all parts
are interlinked. This and the following line well
sum up the fundamental doctrine of the poem, viz.
that creation is ordered, compact, full (1. 93),
evolutional, as Aristotle had suggested. So Man,
IV, 13, 1. 15; Employment, IV, 145, 1. 21; Long-
ing, VI, 45, 1. 53.
135. Marry =ioTin a connecting hnk between.
136. Out of the earth come coal and diamonds, which
once were plants. Perhaps there is also allusion
to the popular fancy that minerals grow.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY
How harsh are thorns to pears ! And yet they make
A better hedge, and need less reparation.
How smooth are silks compared with a stake,
Or with a stone ! Yet make no good foundation.
Sometimes thou dost divide thy gifts to man, 125
Sometimes unite. The Indian nut alone
Is clothing, meat and trencher, drink and kan,
Boat, cable, sail and needle, all in one.
Most herbs that grow in brooks are hot and dry.
Cold fruits' warm kernells help against the
The lemmon's juice and rinde cure mutually.
The whey of milk doth loose, the milk doth binde.
Thy creatures leap not, but expresse a feast
Where all the guests sit close, and nothing wants.
Frogs marry fish and flesh; bats, bird and beast;
Sponges, non-sense and sense; mines,'th' earth
and plants. 136
138. Changest thy mode of action. Variation is as
important a principle in nature as uniformity.
140. Donne, Progress of the Soul, First Song, 385, says
of the elephant:
" Nature hath given him no knees to bend,
Himself he up-props, on himself relies.
Still sleeping stood."
Sir Thomas Browne in his Vulgar Errors, Bk. Ill,
ch. i, examines at length the popular belief that
the elephant has no joints in his legs and conse-
quently "sleepeth against a tree."
141. Psalm cvi, 2.
144. Owes, for owns. But Herbert also uses own. The
Elixer, III, 101, 1. 23.
145-152. These last two stanzas are alternative render-
ings of a single theme, paralleling each other
clause by clause. Probably at his death Herbert
had not decided which of the two to keep as his
ending; but though on the whole preferring 1. 145-
148, he still wished to preserve in his manuscript
1. 149-152 for future estimate. Ferrar, not noticing
the duplicate character of the stanzas, printed
148. Twice, i. e. for me and all my fellows, 1. 26. This
poem, then, would seem to have been written later
than a large body of his verse.
152. One waye more, i. e. as the world's high Priest, 1. 13.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 95
To show thou art not bound, as if thy lot
Were worse then ours, sometimes thou shiftest
Most things move th' under-jaw; the Crocodile
Most things sleep lying; th' Elephant leans or
But who hath praise enough ? Nay who hath any ?
None can expresse thy works but he that knows
And none can know thy works, which are so many
And so complete, but onely he that owes them.
All things that are, though they have sev'rall
Yet in their being joyn with one advise
To honour thee. And so I give thee praise
In all my other hymnes, but in this twice.
[Each thing that is, although in use and name
It go for one, hath many wayes in store 150
To honour thee. And so each hymne thy fame
ExtoUeth many wayes, yet this one more.]
Not found in W.
Used also in Church-Musick, III, 199, and Con-
tent, IV, 149.
We may easily be over-curious in theology, where in
reality the plain truths are the important ones. Cf .
Vanitie, V, 133. This sort of distinction between
needless truth and practical truth nowhere appears
in The Country Parson, but on the contrary,
• Ch. V says: The Countrey Parson hath compiled a
hook and body of Divinity , which is the storehouse
of his Sermons and which he preacheth all his Life,
1. This stanza well illustrates the kind of intellectual
humor of which Herbert is fond (I, 65). Men
devise celestial globes to mark the courses of the
stars, and books of divinity to mark the ways of God,
— fantastic, mechanical representations, harder to
comprehend than the realities which they inter-
pret. On the nature of these spheres, see the note
on Prater, III, 183, 1. 9.
8. Faith is maimed by the incisiveness of reason.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 97
As men, for fear the starres should sleep and nod
And trip at night, have spheres suppli'd,
As if a starre were duller then a clod.
Which knows his way without a guide;
Just so the other heav'n they also serve, S
Divinitie's transcendent skie.
Which with the edge of wit they cut and carve.
Reason triumphs, and faith lies by.
9. To broach is to make an opening in a cask for liquid
to run out, as in The Agonie, V, 153, 1. 15. The
blood of Christ's wounded side is mentioned in
seven other passages. See The Bag, V, 157.
1 1 . Fine = had it been a fashionably cut garment. " The
metaphor was suggested, no doubt, by the quaintly
carved, cut, slashed, and paned dresses of Herbert's
time:" A. B. Grosart. — Jag=io cut into points.
We still use it in the adjective jagged.
15. Which onely save=Qxe the only ones which save.
24. And is not obscure.
25. A term of the Ptolemaic astronomy. Do not keep
making finer and finer hypotheses to explain the
subtleties of heavenly facts.
26. The spheres of 1. 2. Save yourself such mental
strain, 1. 7.
27. The staffe may here be the surveyor's staff of The
Agonie, V, 153, 1. 3.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 99
Could not that wisdome which first broacht the
Have thicken'd it with definitions ? 10
And jagg'd his seamlesse coat, had that been fine,
With curious questions and divisions ?
But all the doctrine which he taught and gave
Was cleare as heav'n, from whence it came.
At least those beams of truth which onely save 15
Surpasse in brightnesse any flame.
Love God and love your neighbour. Watch and
Do as ye would he done unto.
O dark instructions ! Ev'n as dark as day !
Who can these Gordian knots undo ? 20
But he doth bid us take his bloud for wine.
Bid what he please! Yet I am sure
To take and taste what he doth there designe
Is all that saves, and not obscure.
Then bum thy Epicycles, foolish man. ' 25
Break all thy spheres and save thy head.
Faith needs no staffe of flesh, but stoutly can
To heav'n alone both go and leade.
100 THE BRITISH CHURCH
Not found in W.
The English Church, a beautiful mean between the
tawdry Romish and barren Presbyterian. So Epi-
grammata Apologetica, XXVIII. Cf . Donne, Satire
5. It might be thought that Herbert is here approving
the ecclesiastical practice of dating by the Church
Year. But all his letters, even those from Bemer-
ton, are dated by the secular month and day.
10. Outlandish =ioTeign and strange, as in Faith, IV,
29, 1. 9, and in the title of Jacula Prudentum,
11. Pamieci= artificial, unreal, as in Jordan, III,
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 101
THE BRITISH CHURCH
I JOY, deare Mother, when I view
Thy perfect lineaments, and hue
Both sweet and bright.
Beautie in thee takes up her place.
And dates her letters from thy face 5
When she doth write.
A fine aspect in fit array.
Neither too mean, nor yet too gay,
Shows who is best.
Outlandish looks may not compare, 10
For all they either painted are.
Or else undrest.
102 THE BRITISH CHURCH
14. The Church of Rome, throned on her seven hills,
a world-church, was more attractive to ambitious
men than the local church of England.
16. Rome has tolerated a sentimental artificiality in so
many details of her worship that her whole system
of religion has come to seem artificial, her face to
be daubed with paint, 1. 11.
26. The mean=\he middle path, Aristotle's fiearoTT]?.
Cf . The Country Parson, XIII : All this he doth
not as out of necessity ^ or as putting a holiness in
the things, but as desiring to keep the middle way
between superstition and slovenlinesse.
29. To make thee as secure as a castle with two moats,
protected against the twofold dangers of ostenta-
tion and disorder. The religious disturbances of
his time Herbert discusses also in the next poem,
in The Priesthood, IV, 171, 1. 33, and allegori-
cally in Humilitie, IV, 35.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 103
She on the hills which wantonly
AUureth all, in hope to be
By her preferr'd, 15
Hath kiss'd so long her painted shrines
That ev'n her face by kissing shines,
For her reward.
She in the valley is so shie
Of dressing that her hair doth lie 20
About her eares;
While she avoids her neighbour's pride,
She wholly goes on th' other side,
And nothing wears.
But dearest Mother, (what those misse,) 25
The mean, thy praise and glorie is
And long may be.
Blessed be God, whose love it was
To double-moat thee with his grace.
And none but thee. 30
104 CHURCH-RENTS AND SCHISMES
Not found in W.
Divisions within the church (schismes) are more
serious than attacks from without (rents).
1. Perhaps he is led to figure the Church, Christ's
body, as a rose on account of the Rose of Sharon,
(Song of Solomon ii, 1). But quite as likely the
rose is employed merely as the object which is fair-
est; cf. The Rose, IV, 187, 1. 17. — C/iair= throne,
stately place. So, too, 1. 10, and The Temper, IV,
109, 1. 9.
2. Triumph, accented on the last syllable as in Divin-
itie, V, 97, 1. 8.
5. So Peace, IV, 173, 1. 17.
6. Perhaps bottome here means not the under part, but
the stem. Cf. The Discharge, V, 191, 1. 45.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 105
CHURCH-RENTS AND SCHISMES
Brave rose, (alas !) where art thou ? In the chair
Where thou didst lately so triumph and shine
A worm doth sit, whose many feet and hair
Are the more foul the more thou wert divine.
This, this hath done it, this did bite the root 5
And bottome of the leaves ; which when the
Did once perceive, it blew them under foot.
Where rude unhallow'd steps do crush and
Their beauteous glories. Onely shreds of thee,
And those all bitten, in thy chair I see. 10
106 CHURCH-RENTS AND SCHISMES
14. Martyrdoms. Foxe's Book of Martyrs was pub-
lished thirty years before Herbert was born.
17. Cf. The World, IV, 23, 1. 13.
22. North-winde; cf. 1. 6. The influence of Scotch
Presbyterianism was continually increasing in
England. Possibly we may find here an allusion
to Melville's Anti-Tami-Cami-Categoria, which in
early life Herbert had answered (I, 25).
23. Them— your sev'rall parts (1. 21).
27. When only this little spot of earth is awake to the
Gospel, shall we here be disunited ?
29. The thought of these two lines is expanded in
Grief, VI, 83, 1. 1-10.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 107
Why doth my Mother blush ? Is she the rose
And shows it so? Indeed Christ's precious
Gave you a colour once; which when your foes
Thought to let out, the bleeding did you good.
And made you look much fresher then before. 15
But when debates and fretting jealousies
Did worm and work within you more and more.
Your colour faded, and calamities
Turned your ruddie into pale and bleak.
Your health and beautie both began to break. 20
Then did your sev'rall parts unloose and start.
Which when your neighbours saw, Kke a north-
They rushed in and cast them in the dirt,
Where Pagans tread. O Mother deare and
Where shall I get me eyes enough to weep, 25
As many eyes as starres ? Since it is night.
And much of Asia and Europe fast asleep,
And ev'n all Africk. Would at least I might
With these two poore ones Uck up all the dew
Which falls by night, and poure it out for you 1
108 THE JEWS
Vaughan has enlarged this in his poem, The Jews.
There is a curious passage on the Jews in The
Country Parson, XXXIV.
Not found in W.
Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from
Justice, VI, 13.
Christianity grafted upon Judaism has absorbed
the vitality of the Jews, and should now repay. Cf .
Romans xi, 17-21.
2. Cyens=scions» grafts.
3. By Apostolic succession. Cf. Whitsunday, III,
159, 1. 17.
6. By keeping the letter, they lose it.
8. Revelation viii, 6.
12. Job xiv, 9.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 109
PooRE nation, whose sweet sap and juice
Our cyens have purloin'd, and left you drie;
Whose streams we got by the Apostles' sluce
And use in baptisme, while ye pine and die;
Who, by not keeping once, became a debter, 5
And now by keeping lose the letter;
Oh that my prayers! mine, alas!
Oh that some Angel might a trumpet sound,
At which the Church falling upon her face
Should crie so loud untill the trump were drown'd,
And by that crie of her deare Lord obtain 11
That your sweet sap might come again!
Not found in W.
The preferring of Barabbas (popularity with the
multitude), or of Judas (gold), to Christ has not
ceased in our day.
6. That choice=\h.e choosing of Barabbas. Thy
storie=\he description of you. Storie is used five
times by Herbert in this sense, and also rhyming
with glorie: The Church-Porch, III, 21, 1. 52,
and 25, 1. 94, Complaining, VI, 27, 1. 7, and A
Dialogue- Antheme, VI, 103, 1. 3. Cf., too, Cra-
shaw's Wishes to his Supposed Mistress: "Be you
my fictions, but her story."
10, John viii, 44.
12. Her where we should use its, which was hardly es-
tablished in Herbert's time.
18. So Vaughan in his Rules and Lessons, p. 45: "Who
sells Religion is a Judas- Jew." In The Country
Parson, II, Herbert writes : They who for the hope
of promotion neglect any necessary admonition or
reproof e, sell (with Judas) their Lord and Master.
19. Prei;e7if= anticipate. 1 Corinthians xi, 31.
20. That light= conscience. Proverbs xx, 27; John i, 9.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 111
Thou who condemnest Jewish hate
For choosing Barabbas, a murderer,
Before the Lord of glorie.
Look back upon thine own estate,
Call home thine eye (that busie wanderer), 5
That choice may be thy storie.
He that doth love, and love amisse.
This world's delights before true Christian joy,
Hath made a Jewish choice.
The world an ancient murderer is; 10
Thousands of souls it hath, and doth destroy
With her enchanting voice.
He that hath made a sorrie wedding
Between his soul and gold, and hath preferred
False gain before the true, 15
Hath done what he condemnes in reading;
For he hath sold for money his deare Lord,
And is a Judas- Jew.
Thus we prevent the last gre^t day.
And' judge our selves. That Ught which sin and
Did before dimme and choke.
When once those snuffes are ta*ne away,
Shines bright and cleare, ev'n unto condemnation.
Without excuse or cloke.
Not found in W.
Of seventeen sonnets, six — like this — are in the
Money, though created by maA, has become his
1. 1 Timothy vi, 10.
9. Forcing; cf. The Pearl, TV, 177, 1. 6.
10. The face of maw = the king's head on the coin.
14. So, too, Providence, V, 87, 1. 82-84.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 113
Money, thou bane of bKsse and sourse of wo,
Whence com'st thou that thou art so fresh and
I know thy parentage is base and low,
Man found thee poore and dirtie in a mine.
Surely thou didst so little contribute 5
To this great kingdome which thou now hast
That he was fain, when thou wert destitute.
To digge thee out of thy dark cave and grot.
Then forcing thee by fire, he made thee bright.
Nay, thou hast got the face of man, for we 10
Have with our stamp and seal transferr'd our right ;
Thou art the man, and man but drosse to thee.
Man calleth thee his wealth, who made thee rich.
And while he digs out thee, falls in the ditch.
Not found in W.
Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from
Jordan, III, 87.
Throughout recorded history the field of inter-
course between God and man has steadily nar-
rowed. Cf. Whitsunday, III, 157.
1-3. Genesis xix, 3; xxxii, 24; xviii, 33; Judges vi, 11.
4. To-day God silently endures human complaints;
with Moses He was so intimate that He could
speak and check them. Exodus xxxii, 14.
5. Exodus xxxii, 10.
7. Judges vi, 11; Exodus iii, 2; 1 Kings xix, 9; Genesis
9. Exodus xix, 20.
10. Exodus xxviii, 33-35. Cf. Aaron, V, 11, 1. 3.
12. Luke xvii, 21.
13. (Smne= original sin ; Satan may refer to present
ill-doing. Cf. Self-Condemnation, V, 111, 1. 20.
15. The portion left by Sin and Satan, who are here
figured as independent.
IQ. Whenas= since thy love — once widespread, but
now forced back by sin — keeps itself hidden,
awaiting the flames of the judgment day.
18. Closet up itself. Cf. Whitsunday, III, 159, 1. 21.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 115
Sweet were the dayes when thou didst lodge with
Struggle with Jacob, sit with Gideon,
Advise \^th Abraham, when thy power could not
Encounter Moses' strong complaints and mone.
Thy words were then, Let me alone. 5
One might have sought and found thee presently
At some fair oak, or bush, or cave, or well.
Is my God this way ? No, they would reply.
He is to Sinai gone as we heard tell. 9
List, ye may heare great Aaron's bell.
But now thou dost thy self immure and close
In some one corner of a feeble heart.
Where yet both Sinne and Satan, thy old foes,
Do pinch and straiten thee and use much art
To gain thy thirds and little part. 15
I see the world grows old, whenas the heat
Of thy great love once spread, as in an urn
Doth closet up itself and still retreat.
Cold sinne still forcing it, till it return,
And calling Justice, all things bum. 20
Another poem with this title is given, VI, 13. This
much resembles Death, IV, 59.
Not found in W.
The justice of God, as revealed by Christ, is friendly,
5. Discolour = take away the living color, make thee
ghastly. The word is used again in Affliction,
VI, 29, 1. 10.
7. The dishes are the pans of the scales of justice. The
beam is the cross-piece from which the dishes hang;
the scape, the upright part at right angles with the
10. TortWing, thus spelled in ed. 1633, meaning tortur-
ing, has often been erroneously printed tottering.
13. 2 Corinthians iii, 14. — Pt*re= transparent.
19, 21. The emphatic words are me and thee.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 117
O DREADFULL Justicc, what a fright and terrour
Wast thou of old,
When sinne and errour
Did show and shape thy looks to me,
And through their glasse discolour thee ! 5
He that did but look up was proud and bold.
The dishes of thy ballance seem'd to gape,
Like two great pits.
The beam and scape
Did like some tort'ring engine show. 10
Thy hand above did burn and glow,
Danting the stoutest hearts, the proudest wits.
But now that Christ's pure vail presents the sight,
I see no fears.
Thy hand is white, 15
Thy scales Hke buckets, which attend
And interchangeably descend.
Lifting to heaven from this well of tears.
For where before thou still didst call on me,
Now I still touch 20
And harp on thee.
God's promises have made thee mine.
Why should I justice now decline ?
Against me there is none, but for me much.
Several writers of Herbert's time — N. Breton,
Chapman, J. Earle, Bishop Hall, Sir T. Overbury,
and, in modified form, Sir J. Davies — had made
elaborate studies of single human traits, much in the
manner of Theophrastus in his Characters. This
poem, so unlike Herbert's other work, is an experi-
ment in following the current fashion. Vaughan
imitates it in his Righteousness. The Standard of
Equality, by Philo-Decaeus, was dedicated in 1647
to Sir John Danvers, the stepfather of Herbert, in
these words: "Lighting casually on the poems of
Mr. George Herbert, lately deceased, (whose pious
life and death have converted me to a full belief
that there is a St. George,) and therein perusing
the description of a constant man, it directed my
thoughts unto yourself; having heard that the au-
thor in his lifetime had therein designed no other
title than your character in that description." These
are the words of a flattering dedicator. Few persons
could be found less like Herbert's Constant Man
than Sir John Danvers. See I, 24.
Not found in W.
The sturdy righteousness which is not prompted
or checked by expediency. Perhaps he has in mind
the 101st Psalm, which in The Country Parson,
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 119
Who is the honest man ?
He that doth still and strongly good pursue,
To God, his neighbour, and himself most true.
Whom neither force nor fawning can
Unpinne or wrench from giving all their due. 5
Whose honestie is not
So loose or easie that a ruffling winde
Can blow away, or glittering look it blinde.
Who rides his sure and even trot 9
While the world now rides by, now lags behinde.
Who, when great trials come,
Nor seeks nor shunnes them; but doth cahnly
TiU he the thing and the example weigh.
All being brought into a summe.
What place or person calls for, he doth pay. 15
X, he advises should be expressed in a fayre table as
being the rule of a family, and hung upon the wall.
1. Cf. Psalm XV, and Horace's Integer Vitae. A vig-
orous paraphrase of the latter had just appeared in
Campion's The Man of Life Upright. The virtue
of Constande was a favorite one with Herbert;
cf. The Chuech-Porch, HI, 27, 1. 115-120.
6. Vaughan has paraphrased this stanza in his Rules
and Lessons, stanza ix.
8. Glittering look, a dazzling glance of the great can-
not make the honest man shut his eyes to iniquity.
13. The thing and the example= the principle and its
20. Cf. Donne, Letter to Lady Carey, 1. 34. The
three words in Herbert's stanza which formerly
rhymed are now all pronounced differently.
24. Others do right so long as eyes can see them. He
regards only Virtue's all-observing eye.
26-30. 1 forget alt things so I may do them good who
want it. So I do my part to them, let them think
of me what they will or can. If I should regard
such things, it were in another's power to defeat
my charity, and evil should be stronger than good :
Herbert's letter to his brother Henry, 1630.
31. When the world's game runs counter to his right-
eous purposes (cf. Affliction, IV, 141, 1. 53), no-
thing can induce him to distort his movements
away from his purpose into conformity with evil.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 121
Whom none can work or wooe
To use in any thing a trick or sleight,
For above all things he abhorres deceit.
His words and works and fashion too
All of a piece, and all are cleare and straight. 20
Who never melts or thaws
At close tentations. When the day is done.
His goodnesse sets not, but in dark can runne.
The sunne to others writeth laws,
And is their vertue. Vertue is his Sunne. 25
Who, when he is to treat
With sick folks, women, those whom passions
Allows for that and keeps his constant way.
Whom others' faults do not defeat; 29
But though men fail him, yet his part doth play.
Whom nothing can procure.
When the wide world runnes bias, from his will
To writhe his limbes, and share, not mend the ill.
This is the Mark-man, safe and sure.
Who still is right, and prayes to be so still. 35
122 THE FOIL
A foil is a piece of metal employed as a setting for
a jewel, in order to give it richer color. Cf . To the
QuEENE OF Bohemia, VI, 185, 1. 16. So Shake-
speare, Lover's Complaint, 1. 153:
" Which remain'd the foil
Of this false jewel, and his amorous spoil."
Not found in W.
Grief brings out the nature of sin as heaven does
that of virtue.
1. If we below could see.
8. Grief. Is this possibly a misprint for sin ? In 1. 6
vertues and sinning are parallel. The sense seems
to require that they should be so here.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 123
If we could see below
The sphere of vertue and each shining grace
As plainly as that above doth show.
This were the better skie, the brighter place.
God hath made starres the foil
To set off vertues, griefs to set off sinning.
Yet in this wretched world we toil
As if grief were not foul, nor vertue winning.
124 MAN'S MEDLEY
Translated into Latin in 1678 by William Dilling-
ham, with the title Gaudium.
Not found in W.
"Man has double joys and sorrows, answering
to his double nature; but the soul's joys are to
be preferred, as lasting into the world beyond:"
H. C. Beeching.
8. Make their pretence=la.y hold upon. See Jordan,
III, 93, 1. 16.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 125
Heark, how the birds do sing,
And woods do ring!
All creatures have their joy, and man hath his.
Yet if we rightly measure,
Man's joy and pleasure 5
Rather hereafter then in present is.
To this Hfe things of sense
Make their pretence;
In th' other Angels have a right by birth.
Man ties them both alone, 10
And makes them one,
With th' one hand touching heav'n, with th' other
126 MAN'S MEDLEY
15. A dark passage, the difficulties mainly connecting
themselves with the significance of lace, the mean-
ing of after f and the subject of should. The curious
lace may represent that beauty (cf. Peace, IV, 173,
1. 9; The Pearl, IV, 177, 1. 16) which, everywhere
fringing physical objects, seems never really to be-
long to them. Still further along in the spiritual
direction, next after this beautiful trimming, —
rather than after, or in accordance with, his ma-
terial stuff, — man (he of 1. 15) should take his place
or get his significance. So interpreted, the passage
would be a characteristic bit of Herbert's Plato-
nism. But the sense of after is severely strained. In
Employment, IV, 143, 1. 12, the stuff or material
of our life is said to be with God.
30. Herbert uses the same rhyme in the second stanza,
and often elsewhere. Throughout the seventeenth
century the word one was pronounced not Kke our
won, but like our own; as we still pronounce it
in alone, and sometimes in none and only. See
Sepulchre, V, 155, 1. 3.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 127
In soul he mounts and flies,
In flesh he dies. 14
He wears a stuffe whose thread is coarse and round,
But trimm'd with curious lace.
And should take place
After the trimming, not the stuffe and ground.
Not that he may not here
Taste of the cheer; 20
But as birds drink and straight lift up their head,
So must he sip and think
Of better drink
He may attain to after he is dead.
But as his joyes are double, 25
So is his trouble.
He hath two winters, other things but one.
Both frosts and thoughts do nip
And bite his Up,
And he of all things fears two deaths alone. 30
Yet ev'n the greatest griefs
May be reliefs.
Could he but take them right and in their wayes.
Happie is he whose heart
Hath found the art 35
To turn his double pains to double praise.
Not found in W.
Used also in Dulnesse, V, 207.
"Unite my heart to fear thy name:" Psalm Ixxxvi,
11. There is likeness of thought between this
poem and Miserie, IV, 47, where man's wretch-
edness is attributed to his instabiUty.
11. Snudge=io lie snug, to sleep. So Vaughan under-
stands it in his Misery, 1. 65 :
" The age, the present times, are not
To snudge in and embrace a cot."
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 129
Oh, what a thing is man ! How farre from power,
From setled peace and rest!
He is some twentie sev'rall men at least
Each sev'rall houre. 4
One while he counts of heav'n as of his treasure;
But then a thought creeps in
And calls him coward who for fear of sinne
Will lose a pleasure.
Now he will fight it out and to the warres;
Now eat his bread in peace 10
And snudge in quiet. Now he scorns increase;
Now all day spares.
12. Spares = saves his money, is sparing, — its usual
meaning in Herbert. Spare in its other sense • — to
part with — occurs in Herbert only rarely. Mor-
tification, IV, 57, 1. 34.
15. It is partly true that a whirlwind blows, for his
mind is like a whirlwind.
17. Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 17, 1. 23.
19. In dying the dolphin takes on a variety of colors,
which Herbert attributes to its changing feelings.
So Byron, Childe Harold, IV, stanza xxix:
" Parting day
Dies like the dolphin, whom each pang imbues
With a new colour as it gasps away."
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 131
He builds a house, which quickly down must go,
As if a whirlwinde blew 14
And crusht the building; and it's partly true,
His minde is so.
O what a sight were Man if his attires
Did alter with his minde;
And Uke a Dolphin's skinne, his clothes combin'd
With his desires! 20
Surely if each one saw another's heart.
There would be no commerce,
No sale or bargain passe. All would disperse.
And live apart.
Lord, mend or rather make us. One creation 25
Will not suffice our turn.
Except thou make us dayly, we shall spurn
Our own salvation.
Another poem with this title is given, IV, 153.
Not found in W.
Man's zeal and success in pursuing things remote
and unimportant. Cf. Divinitie, V, 97.
1. For the appropriateness of these words bore and
thred see note on Prayer, III, 183, 1. 9.
3. Cf. The Agonie, V, 153, 1. 3.
7. " Aspects = the appearance of the planets in their re-
lation to each other, and therefore in their supposed
influence on earthly matters : " A. R. Waller. — FvU-
ey'd is used again in The Glance, VI, 91, 1. 20.
14. A similar thought appears in Providence, V, 87,
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 133
The fleet Astronomer can bore
And thred the spheres with his quick-piercing
He views their stations, walks from doore to doore,
Surveys as if he had design'd 4
To make a purchase there. He sees their dances,
And knoweth long before
Both their fuU-ey'd aspects and secret glances.
The nimble Diver with his side
Cuts through the working waves, that he may
His dearely-eamed pearl, which God did hide
On purpose from the ventrous wretch;
That he might save his Ufe, and also hers
Who with excessive pride
Her own destruction and his danger wears.
15. From any created object the chemist can strip the
outward traits, and by analysis lay bare the ulti-
mate elements, studying these in their detachment
instead of in those composite forms in which they
usually present themselves to our senses.
17. Ca//ow= unfledged. Providence, V, 85, 1. 63.
23. So in The Church-Porch, III, 15, 1. 9, we read
of God*s lesson written in the soul. Jeremiah xxxi,
26. Romans x, 6-8.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 135
The subtil Chymick can devest 15
And strip the creature naked, till he finde
The callow principles within their nest.
There he imparts to them his minde,
Admitted to their bed-chamber, before 19
They appeare trim and drest
To ordinarie suitours at the doore.
What hath not man sought out and found,
But his deare God ? Who yet his glorious law
Embosomes in us, mellowing the ground 24
With showres and frosts, with love and
So that we need not say, Where's this command ?
Poore man, thou searchest round
To finde out death, but missest life at hand.
Not found in W.
Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from
The Priesthood, TV, 169.
Doting man mistakes nothing for something.
1. GZo3m9= flatteringly deceptive. So Milton, Para-
dise Lost, III, 93: "Man will hearken to his gloz-
ing Hes." — CasJcs=em:pty barrels. Dr. Grosart
proposes the emendation husks to correspond with
rooted miseries in the next stanza.
2. Night-fires =ignes fatui, will-o'-the-wisps.
3. Chases in ^7Ta5= hunting-parties in silk, instead
of in flesh and bone, — contrasted with the sure-
footed griefs of 1. 9.
4. Career=iu\l tilt, as in Joseph's Coat, VI, 61,
5. In Vanitie, IV, 153, 1. 4, solid work is contrasted
with false emhroyderies. There is a Spanish pro-
verb: "Nada entre duos platos."
7. Same phrase in Obedience, IV, 183, 1. 28.
8. In grain= going through and through. — Ripe and
blown= in full flower.
14. In The Country Parson, XV, Herbert speaks
of the miserable comparison of the moment of griefs
here with the weight of joyes hereafter.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 137
False glozing pleasures, casks of happinesse,
FooKsh night-fires, women's and children's
Chases in Arras, guilded emptinesse,
Shadows well mounted, dreams in a career, 4
Embroider'd lyes, nothing between two dishes;
These are the pleasures here.
True earnest sorrows, rooted miseries.
Anguish in grain, vexations ripe and blown.
Sure-footed griefs, soHd calamities.
Plain demonstrations, evident and cleare, 10
Fetching their proofs ev'n from the very bone;
These are the sorrows here.
But oh the folly of distracted men.
Who griefs in earnest, joyes in jest pursue;
Preferring, Uke brute beasts, a lothsome den 15
Before a court, ev'n that above so cleare.
Where are no sorrows, but delights more true
Then miseries are here!
Not found in W.
The couplets are like those of Antiphon, III, 107.
The triplets are unique. The rhyming vowel at the
beginning and near the end is a. All the other
rh3mies are in e or o.
After sinning, there is only one business, — ener-
getic repentance. Lines 3-14 (the human side of
sin) c(^rrespond with lines 17-28 (the divine side).
1. Idle here and in 1. 15= indifferent, doing nothing
about it, the quality described at length in Miserie,
3. Elsewhere waters know their work and seek their
end. How is it with the waters of the eye ?
8. The man of faults and fears will need tears.
9. Plot: it is their plan or scheme to be never at rest.
14. If you will not put yourself to the slight pain of
repentance, it is a pity you have a body in which
pungent effects of sin must be recorded. These
lines correspond with 1. 7 and 8.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 139
Canst be idle ? Canst thou play.
Foolish soul, who sinn'd to day ?
Rivers run, and springs each one
Know their home, and get them gone.
Hast thou tears, or hast thou none ? 5
If, poore soul, thou hast no tears.
Would thou hadst no faults or fears!
Who hath these, those ill forbears.
Windes still work; it is their plot.
Be the season cold or hot. 10
Hast thou sighs, or hast thou not ?
If thou hast no sighs or grones.
Would thou hadst no flesh and bones!
Lesser pains scape greater ones.
/ But if yet thou idle be, 15
Foolish soul, who di'd for thee ?
22. The death of the body and of the soul. Revelation
xxi, 8. Cf. Man's Medley, V, 127, 1. 30.
24. Everything in this poem is antithetic: rivers and
tears are offset against windes and sighs; Christ's
life against his death; our losing gold against our
finding silver; and all in illustration of the gi^at
antithesis of sin and salvation.
28. The present life, and the life of misery hereafter.
29. Can man properly take time to breathe between
committing sin and accepting the new life offered
by Christ's death?
32. His crosse=}n3 affliction.
33. Shall he not tell his Lord of his loss ?
Vin. BEMERTON STUDY 141
Who did leave his Father's throne
To assume thy flesh and bone ?
Had he hfe, or had he none ?
If he had not liv'd for thee, 20
Thou hadst di'd most wretchedly,
And two deaths had been thy fee.
He so farre thy good did plot
That his own self he forgot.
Did he die, or did he not ? 25
If he had not di'd for thee.
Thou hadst Uv'd in miserie.
Two Kves worse then ten deaths be.
And hath any space of breath 29
'Twixt his sinnes and Saviour's death ?
He that loseth gold, though drosse,
Tells to all he meets his crosse.
He that sinnes, hath he no losse ?
He that findes a silver vein
Thinks on it, and thinks again. 35
Brings thy Saviour's death no gain ?
Who in heart not ever kneels
Neither sinne nor Saviour feels.
142 SINNES ROUND
Not found in W.
The same as that of The Church-Porch, except
that this is a case of "link-verse," i. e. the last
Kne of each stanza is the first line of the next, and
the last line of the poem connects with the first.
This structure, which at first seems merely ingen-
ious, really expresses as no other could the self-
perpetuating character of sin. Such beginnings
touch their end. — Southwell in his St. Peter's
Complaint, stanza cxiii (1595), has this stanza:
" My eye reades moumfull lessons to my hart,
My hart doth to my thought the greefes expound,
My thought the same doth to my tongue impart,
My tongue the message in the eares doth sound;
My eares back to my hart their sorrowes send ;
Thus circling greefes rmme round without an end."
And Donne had already employed the device, though
with far less dehcacy and appropriateness, in his
Corona or circlet of Divine Sonnets, where the
last line of each is repeated as the first line of
the next, and the last line of the seventh sonnet
is the first line of the first. Several of Daniel's son-
nets are similarly linked. In the following poem
Herbert uses this metre with another fanciful
modification of the last line.
Admit the beginnings of sin, and evil thoughts,
words, and deeds follow in a never-ending round.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 143
SoRRiE I am, my God, some I am
That my offences course it in a ring.
My thoughts are working like a busie flame
Untill their cockatrice they hatch and bring. 4
And when they once have perfected their draughts.
My words take fire from my inflamed thoughts.
144 SINNES ROUND
4. For ancient beliefs about this fabulous monster,
see Isaiah lix, 5, and xiv, 29. For both ancient and
modern beliefs that "he proceedeth from a cock's
eggy hatched under a toad or serpent, killeth at a
distance and poisoneth by the eye/* see Sir T.
Browne's Vulgar Errors, III, 7. Spenser has him
in The Amoretti, XLIX : " Kill with looks as cocka-
8. Mount Aetna.
9. This rhyme occurs in three other poems.
10. To bring evil out into the air kindles its flame
anew. Cf. The Odour, V, 25, 1. 25.
12. So Jacuia Prudentum: Sins are not known till
they be acted.
15. Genesis xi, 4.
17. The same sinful sequence appears in Marie Mag-
dalene, V, 151, 1. 12.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 145
My words take fire from my inflamed thoughts,
Which spit it forth Kke the SiciKan hill.
They vent the wares and passe them with their
And by their breathing ventilate the ill. 10
But words suffice not where are lewd intentions;
My hands do joyn to finish the inventions.
My hands do joyn to finish the inventions.
And so my sinnes ascend three stories high,
As Babel grew before there were dissentions. 15
Yet ill deeds loyter not, for they supplie
New thoughts of sinning. Wherefore, to my shame,
Sorrie I am, my God, sorrie I am.
146 THE WATER-COURSE
Dualism is deep in Herbert. His universe presents
itself in antithetic pairs. Man and God, nature
and spirit, pleasure and duty, death and life, — to
these irreconcilable opposites his thought continu-
ally recurs. Between them he recognizes no inner
kinship, as do Vaughan, Crashaw, and the Mys-
tics. For him approach to the one is ever denial
of the other. This pessimistic little poem, with its
two stanzas and contrasted endings, is an extreme
exhibit of his temper.
Not found in W.
A special adaptation of the metre of The Church-
Porch, ni, 15, and SIN^ES Round, V, 143.
What befits affliction is not complaint, but repent-
6. Water pipes are mentioned also in Whitsunday,
III, 159, 1. 17.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 147
Thou who dost dwell and linger here below.
Since the condition of this world is frail
Where of all plants afflictions soonest grow,
If troubles overtake thee, do not wail; 4
For who can look for lesse that loveth | ^ . *
But rather turn the pipe and water's course
To serve thy sinnes, and furnish thee with store
Of sov'raigne tears, springing from true remorse;
That so in purenesse thou mayst him adore 9
Who ^ves to man as he sees fit |
148 THE PULLEY
God's means of drawing us to himself. J. Churton
Collins writes in his Treasury of Minor British
Poetry: "This is the one poem of Herbert's which
is not marred by his characteristic defects, affected
quaintness, extravagance, prosaic baldness, and dis-
cordant rhythm . " I cannot agree with this estimate.
The poetry of Herbert does not seem to me in
general to be marked with these characteristics, nor
the present poem to be singularly free from them.
Not found in W.
"Thou hast made us for Thyself, and our heart
is restless until it finds rest in Thee;" Augustine,
Confessions, I, 1.
7. These good gifts to man are often referred to by
Herbert under slightly varying names: as in The
World, IV, 21; The Pearl, IV, 177; The Quip,
16, 17. Rest, restlessnesse. There are not above half-a-
dozen puns in Herbert. Few poets of his day are
so free from them.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 149
When God at first made man,
Having a glasse of blessings standing by,
Let us (said he) poure on him all we can.
Let the world's riches, which dispersed lie.
Contract into a span. 5
So strength first made a way.
Then beautie flow'd, then wisdome, honour, plea-
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that alone of all his treasure
Rest in the bottome lay. 10
For if I should (said he)
Bestow this Jewell also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me.
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature.
So both should losers be. 15
Yet let him keep the rest.
But keep them with repining restlesnesse.
Let him be rich and wearie, that at least.
If goodnesse leade him not, yet wearinesse
May tosse him to my breast. 20
150 MARIE MAGDALENE
Not found in W.
Unique. Rhyming system same as Church-Monu-
ments, III, 201.
The sinner must share, at least by tears, in his own
1. Luke vii, 38, and John xii, 3.
11. Tears like seas, again in The Size, V, 195, 1. 47.
12. This threefold aspect of sin is treated in Sinnes
Round, V, 143.
14. Das/i= bespatter.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 151
When blessed Marie wip'd her Saviour's feet,
(Whose precepts she had trampled on before,)
And wore them for a Jewell on her head.
Shewing his steps should be the street
Wherein she thenceforth evermore 5
With pensive humblenesse would Uve and tread;
She being stain'd her self, why did she strive
To make him clean who could not be defil'd ?
Why kept she not her tears for her own faults.
And not his feet ? Though we could dive 10
In tears hke seas, our sinnes are pil'd
Deeper then they, in words, and works, and
Deare soul, she knew who did vouchsafe and
To bear her filth, and that her sinnes did dash
Ev'n God himself; wherefore she was not loth, 15
As she had brought wherewith to stain,
So to bring in wherewith to wash.
And yet, in washing one, she washed both.
152 THE AGONIE
Not found in W.
Used also in The Crosse, V, 231.
The two greatest forces of the world and the least
understood, Sin and Love, meet at their height
in Christ's last hours; where the one had power to
crush him in the Garden, the other to bring from
his Cross Kfe for all.
3. Two strains of thought, as frequently with Her-
bert, blend in this expression : Scientific men have
appHed their measuring-rods to determine the dis-
tance of the earth from the stars. The use of the
measuring-rod then suggests the staff in the hand
of the traveller. Cf. Divinitie, V, 99, 1. 27. J.
Howell, in a letter dated 1627, writes: "The
philosopher can fathom the Deep, measure Moun-
tains, reach the Stars with a Staff, and bless
Heaven with a Girdle."
11. Perhaps an allusion to Isaiah Ixiii, 3. Cf. Praise,
V, 47, 1. 38.
15. Set ahroach= set running. The word is used again
in the same connection in Divinitie, V, 99, 1. 9.
18. John vi, 55. Cf. The Invitation, V, 49, 1. 12.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 153
Philosophers have measur'd mountains,
Fathom'd the depths of seas, of states, and kings,
Walk'd with a staffe to heav'n, and traced foun-
But there are two vast, spacious things,
The which to measure it doth more behove, 5
Yet few there are that sound them : Sinne and
Who would know Sinne, let him repair
Unto Mount OUvet; there shall he see
A man so wrung with pains that all his hair,
His skinne, his garments bloudie be. 10
Sinne is that presse and vice which forceth pain
To hunt his cruell food through ev'ry vein.
Who knows not Love, let him assay
And taste that juice which on the crosse a pike
Did set again abroach; then let him say 15
If ever he did taste the Uke.
Love is that liquor sweet and most divine
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.
Not found in W.; but early in style.
The contrast between hearts and stones as regards
their openness to Christ: the former should be ten-
der, hospitable, clean, restful, impressible. Christ
found only the latter so.
5. 1 suppose this to mean. Our hearts have room
enough, and to spare; and I so punctuate. But ed.
1633 reads our hearts good store, without comma or
9. Large, i. e. with room for sins and trifles by the
10. Whatever y the impatient interrogative = what pos-
sible, what in the world, could the rock have done
to need thee for its purification ?
16. Order; a noun to be joined with quiet.
20. And therefore must employ stone. 2 Corinthians
23. Loving =hoiii offering love to.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 155
O BLESSED bodie ! Whither art thou thrown ?
No lodging for thee but a cold hard stone ?
So many hearts on earth, and yet not one
Receive thee ? 4
Sure there is room within our hearts — good store !
For they can lodge transgressions by the score.
Thousands of toyes dwell there, yet out of doore
They leave thee.
But that which shews them large, shews them unfit.
Whatever sinne did this pure rock commit, 10
Which holds thee now ? Who hath indited it
Of murder ?
Where our hard hearts have took up stones to brain
And missing this, most falsly did arraigne thee,
Onely these stones in quiet entertain thee, 15
And as of old, the law by heav'nly art
Was writ in stone; so thou, which also art
The letter of the word, find'st no fit heart
To hold thee. 20
Yet do we still persist as we began.
And so should perish, but that nothing can.
Though it be cold, hard, foul, from loving man
156 THE BAG
This curious piece is more Kke Giles Fletcher's
work than anything else of Herbert's. It approaches
its subject from the side of God and not of man,
reporting heavenly events rather than — as is Her-
bert's way — human longings. Its style, too, is
Fletcher's, treating the gravest matters sweetly and
with a kind of sportive romance. Fletcher preceded
Herbert both at Westminster School and Trinity
College by only four years. His poem, Christ's Vic-
tories, was published in 1610. — 5^ 6^= mail-bag.
Not found in W.
We cannot despair, since Christ is open to all our
desires. Christ's wounded side seems greatly to
have impressed Herbert. Allusions to it occur
in The Sacrifice, III, 147, 1. 246; Prayer, III,
181, 1. 6; H. Baptisme, III, 191, 1. 6; Divini-
TiE, V, 99, 1. 9; The Agonie, V, 153, 1. 14; The
Church Militant, VI, 123, 1. 69.
5. The reference of this stanza is to the storm on the
Sea of Galilee. Matthew viii, 24.
; 6. TreZZ= possibly, as in H. Communion, IH, 197, 1. 31.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 157
Away despair! My gracious Lord doth heare.
Though windes and waves assault my keel,
He doth preserve it; he doth steer,
Ev'n when the boat seems most to reel.
Storms are the triumph of his art. 5
Well may he close his eyes, but not his heart.
Hast thou not heard that my Lord Jesus di'd ?
Then let me tell thee a strange storie.
The God of power, as he did ride
In his majestick robes of glorie, 10
Resolv'd to light; and so one day
He did descend, undressing all the way.
The starres his tire of Ught and rings obtain'd,
The cloud his bow, the fire his spear,
The sky his azure mantle gain'd. 15
And when they ask'd what he would wear,
He smil'd and said, as he did go.
He had new clothes a making here below.
158 THE BAG
15. In early Christian art the outer mantle of Christ is
always blue, his inner tunic red; the latter color
signifying love, the former wisdom. This seems
to be the reason for the employment of azure in
HUMILITIE, IV, 35, 1. 2.
18. Cf. Hebrews ii, 17.
20. Luke ii, 7.
26. John xix, 34.
28. lfa?i= guard, attendant. This poem has inspired
Vaughan's Incarnation and Passion.
42. So 1. 1.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 159
When he was come, as travellers are wont,
He did repair unto an inne. 20
Both then and after, many a brunt
He did endure to cancell sinne.
And having giv'n the rest feefore.
Here he gave up his hfe to pay our score.
But as he was returning, there came one 25
That ran upon him with a spear.
He who came hither all alone.
Bringing nor man, nor arms, nor fear,
Receiv'd the blow upon his side; 29
And straight he turn'd and to his brethren cry'd,
If ye have anything to send or write,
(I have no bag, but here is room)
Unto my father's hands and sight
(Beleeve me) it shall safely come.
That I shall minde what you impart, 35
Look, you may put it very neare my heart.
Or if hereafter any of my friends
Will use me in this kinde, the doore
Shall still be open; what he sends
I will present, and somewhat more, 40
Not to his hurt. Sighs will convey
Any thing to me. Heark despair, away !
160 THE SONNE
Not found in W.
Of seventeen sonnets, eleven — like this — depart
in the third quatrain from the Shakespearian form.
Similarities of language often correspond with
similarities of meaning. See I, 165.
3. The rising admiration for the vernacular had been
expressed by Sidney in his Defence of Poesie;
"Some will say ours is a mingled language: and
why not so much the better, taking the best of both
the other ? For the uttering sweetly and properly
the conceit of the mind, which is the end of speech,
that hath it equally with any tongue in the world."
4. Cf. The Church-Porch, III, 43, 1. 239.
8-10. When the light of Hfe grows dim in parents, their
fruit or issue takes it up, passing the flame along
from Adam in Paradise to the latest generation
among Western tribes. So in The Church Mili-
tant, VI, 119, 125, 1. 17, 97. Is there an allusion
here to Plato's torch-race ? Repub. I, 328.
14. So, too, Even-Song, V, 59, 1. 8. But Herbert shows
forbearance in not playing on this double mean-
ing in his Sunday, III, 175 — as did Vaughan after-
wards. Donne, too, writes: "Joy at th' uprising
of this Sunne and Son: " La Corona, VH, 2.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 161
Let forrain nations of their language boast,
What fine varietie each tongue affords,
I like our language, as our men and coast.
Who cannot dresse it well, want wit, not words.
How neatly doe we give one onely name 5
To parents' issue and the sunne's bright starre !
A Sonne is light and fruit; a fruitful flame
Chasing the father's dimnesse, carri'd farre
From the first man in th' East to fresh and new
Western discov'ries of posteritie. 10
So in one word our Lord's humilitie
We turn upon him in a sense most true:
For what Christ once in humblenesse began,
We him in glorie call, The Sonne of Man.
Not found in W.
Wherever love and gladness are, there too is Christ.
But the association of Christ with the vine is also
in Herbert's mind.
1,3. Window and anneaCd. The conditions assumed
in this poem are these : A church window of stained
glass (for anneaVd, see' The Windows, V, 15, 1. 6)
bears the design of the True Vine (John xv, 1). A
section of the repeated pattern (cf . every , 1. 3) shows
a group of stem, leaves, and drooping grapes. The
tendrils, curHng in opposite directions, suggest by
their forms to Herbert's eye the opposed curves of
the letters J and C; while the bodie, or material
suggestion of the vine, brings to his mind thoughts
of festivity and human fellowship. This double
suggestion is confirmed by him who understands
both the window and the sources of joy.
5. This forward trait of Herbert's character is again
referred to in The Answer, IV, 147, 1. 6.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 163
As on a window late I cast mine eye,
I saw a vine drop grapes with J and C
Anneal'd on every bunch. One standing by
Ask'd what it meant. I (who am never loth
To spend my iudgement) said, It seem'd to me
To be the bodie and the letters both 6
Of Joy and Charitie. Sir, you have not miss'd,
The man reply'd: It figures JESUS CHRIST.
164 .... \ MARY . ^T>ATVT
ANA- \ ^j^j^Y ^ ^^^^
In B. this is placed between Church-Musick and
Church-Lock and Key. R. Southwell writes in
Our Ladies Salutation:
" Spell Eva backe, and ave shall you finde.
The first beganne, the last reversed our harmes."
" An anagram is the transposition of the letters of a
word so as that, without the omission or repeating
of any letter, they compose another of quite differ-
ent signification. Poets have been generally fond
of this scrap of ingenuity and have always used it
to the improvement or disgrace of what the word
primarily signified:'* G. Ryley (1714).
Not found in W.
2. Perhaps a reminiscence of Hebrews viii, 2.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 165
How well her name an Army doth present
In whom the Lord of hosts did pitch his tent !
166 THE CHURCH-FLOORE
Not found in W.
Unique. With wide rhymes,^—!. 3, 9, and 6, 12.
"Ye are the temple of God:" 1 Corinthians iii, 16.
1. Floor e, the groundwork of religion.
7. This poem cannot have been suggested by Salis-
bury Cathedral, whose choir is on a level with the
10. Colossians iii, 14,
14. iVeai =deKcate.
15. The marble weeps. So Grieve Not, VI, 17, 1. 23,
and a variation in The Church Porch, III, 63,
1. 417. Cf. Milton's Hymn on Christ's Nativity,
1. 195: *'And the chill marble seems to sweat."
16. A modification of this figure is used in Church-
Monuments, III, 201, 1. 4.
VIII. BEMERTON STUDY 167
Mark you the floore ? That square and speckled
Which looks so firm and strong,
And th' other black and grave, wherewith each one
Is checker'd all along, 5
The gentle rising, which on either hand
Leads to the Quire above.
But the sweet cement, which in one sure band 10
Ties the whole frame, is Love
Hither sometimes Sinne steals, and stains
The marble's neat and curious veins;
But all is cleansed when the marble weeps. 15
Sometimes Death, puffing at the doore,
Blows all the dust about the floore;
But while he thinks to spoil the room, he sweeps.
Blest be the Architect whose art
Could build so strong in a weak heart. 20
Garden and river Wiley, behind the Rectory at Bemerton. See
Vol. I, p. 41.
THERE came a reaction. The Kttle parish
which had seemed so attractive in its isola-
tion, and into which Herbert had thrown himself
with such joyful eagerness, proved painfully small.
For thirty-seven years he had lived in the full tide
of ajffairs. Born in high station, he had found his
associates among the leaders of the day. With the
gayest, the most learned, the most widely influen-
tial men of his time, Herbert had long been living
on terms of intimacy, and from them had derived
much of that ability to write -fine and wittie on
which to the last he prided himself. Inaction had
always been in his eyes the most dreaded of evils.
Yet for the rest of his hfe he was to be cut off
from society. He was to minister to a small group
of farm laborers in a village remote from city,
court, and university. His predecessor had not
endured such conditions; but leaving church and
parsonage in decay, had lived "at a better Par-
sonage house sixteen or twenty miles from this
At first the restrictions of Herbert's surroundings
were not irksome. After the storms of the Crisis
period he found peace in sacred tasks and in what
he supposed to be a settled mind. It seemed as if
172 PREFACE TO
at length he fast changing were,, Fast in God's
Paradise, where no flower can wither. According
to Walton, he remarked to a friend just after his
Induction: I now look back upon my aspiring
thoughts, and think myself more happy than if I
had attained what then I so ambitiously thirsted for.
In God and his service is a fulness of all joy and
pleasure, and no satiety. Voluntarily cut off from
outward activities, we have seen him joyfully
developing every possibility within his own narrow
bounds. He explores his priestly duties ; he calls on
the services of his Church to disclose their inmost
significance; he records with double dihgence the
moods of his soul. While it is not necessary to
suppose that a majority of his poems were pro-
duced in these three years, still the early manu-
script contains only a minority; and a large pro-
portion of those which first appear in the later
manuscript allude to the priestly office. Herbert's
art must, therefore, have been busily pursued
during this time of seclusion. A kindred art he
also had. "His chief est recreation was Musick,
in which heavenly Art he was a most excellent
Master, and did himself compose many divine
Hymns and Anthems which he set and sung to his
Lute or Viol. And though he was a lover of retired-
ness, yet his love of Musick was such that he went
usually twice every week on certain appointed
days to the Cathedral Church in Salisbury; and
at his return would say that his time spent in
Prayer and Cathedral Musick elevated his Soul
and was his Heaven upon Earth. But before his
return thence to Bemerton, he would usually sing
and play his part at an appointed Musick-meet-
Such were the occupations accessible in his
small parish. For one who had always lived at the
centre of men and things, the change experienced
could not fail to be great. It had its welcome and
unwelcome sides, corresponding to the diversities
in Herbert's own nature. With one side of himself
— the Elizabethan and Renaissance side — he
loved gayety, pleasure, great place, intellectual
companionship, the stir and glitter of the world.
With the other side, which connected him with
the early half of the seventeenth century, he loved
— profoundly and tenderly loved — an abstract
and exclusive God, the guardian of unity, order,
obedience, silence, one hostile to every species of
earthly attachment. We have seen how on entering
the priesthood he anticipated that in this divine
love there could be no satiety. He did not find it so.
The conflicts of the Crisis were renewed. Human
interests, personal desires, had never died in Her-
bert. They never did die. That is what makes him
so attractive a figure. He is ever a strugghng soul,
eager for God and unity, but only less eager to
make the wealthy world his own. He is no calm
saint. Nobody can read the stormy poems of this
Group and find the epithet appropriate which has
174 PREFACE TO
been connected with his name by loose admirers
in his and our age. Herbert is not holy. There was
always a noise of thoughts within his heart. How-
ever closely joy was locked up, some bad man would
let it out again. He was continually asking of God
whether it were not better to bestow some place and
power on him; and years spent in cold dispute of
what is fit and not were apt to appear as only lost.
Many will feel that this failure of inward unity
was due to the separatist notions under which
Herbert for the most part thought of God, con-
ceiving Him not as immanent in human affairs, but
as detached and hostile. No doubt this is true; but
it does not make the conflict in Herbert's soul less
real or instructive. Some readers, remembering
the Uterary habits of Herbert's age and the sonnets
of its love-poets, may suspect that the extent of the
Conflict is exaggerated in the interests of dramatic
art. But even so he paints a conflict judged ap-
propriate to the situation. However we approach
these most human of Herbert's songs, we shall
find that in them justice is done to sides of life
from which the saint instinctively turns. Man is
a Medley; and Herbert, never the simple and
"holy" person of popular tradition, depicts that
medley with sympathetic vividness.
The Group begins with one of the greatest of
his autobiographic poems ; and ends with another,
more allegoric, but even more detailed and con-
fessional in character. In Love Unknown Her-
bert treats imaginatively the three periods of his
manhood. Though he knew himself destined for
the priesthood, his heart was first centred on
Academic and royal honors. A dish of such fruit
he gained, intending eventually to offer it to the
Lord. (This dignity hath no such earthiness in it
but it may very well he joined with heaven : Herbert
to Sir J. Danvers, 1619.) But his heart needed to
be detached from these things and cleansed. Then
came the deaths of his friends and mother (a sac-
rifice out of his fold, 1. 30), the resignation of his
Oratorship, and his severe illness. These afflictions
fell upon him when cold toward God, — hard of
heart as regards his own appointed work. Becom-
ing supple through affliction and through a taste
of God's forgiving love, he turned to that priest-
hood and home where he had always expected
rest. But even in Bemerton he finds dull conditions
and goading thoughts. According to this interpre-
tation, the present poem would resurvey at a later
date the career already sketched in Affliction,
IV, 135, which is here referred to in 1. 28. A more
detailed but similar account is given in The Pil-
grimage. In The Familie, The Discharge,
The Size, and The Method he considers rea-
sons for contentment; in Hope he perceives how
inadequate these are; in Submission we hear of
the painful contrast between the empty life at
Bemerton and that to which he had aspired, a con-
trast resulting in the Dulnesse of the next poem
and the rebellious mood of The Collar. The
sense that in the service of God there is little re-
warding joy suggests in the next three poems that
God has withdrawn his favor, and gives rise to
tender lament. Conscience insists on obedience.
But in one of the most pathetic poems of the series,
The Crosse, we learn how partly through illness,
and partly through a restless heart, the priesthood
is proving a disappointment.
178 LOVE UNKNOWN
"This poem is a striking example and illustration
that the characteristic fault of our elder poets is
the reverse of that which distinguishes too many of
our recent versifiers: the one conveying the most
fantastic thoughts in the most correct and natural
language; the other in the most fantastic language
conveying the most trivial thoughts. The latter is a
riddle of words, the former an enigma of thoughts : "
Coleridge, Biog. Lit. XIX.
Not found in W.
Used also in A Wreath, IV, 115, and Grief, VI,
Unperceived by us, the severities of God express
his love and wisdom. John xiii, 7.
1. This is the only poem in which Herbert professes to
speak with a friend; and the friend is but another
mood of Herbert himself (1. 11).
3. Complie=join, sympathize.
4. Cf. Redemption, IV, 33, 1. 1.
5. For the two lives see Man's Medley, V, 125.
6-18. Cf. An Offering, IV, 189, 1. 3-5.
6. The Cambridge scholarship and poetry.
8. A similar partition of a poem by refrains occurs in
The Church Militant, VI, 121, 1. 48.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 179
Deare Friend, sit down, the tale is long and sad,
And in my faintings I presume your loue
Will more complie then help. A Lord I had,
And have, of whom some grounds which may
I hold for two Kves, and both lives in me. 5
To him I brought a dish of fruit one day,
And in the middle plac'd my heart. But he
(I sigh to say)
Lookt on a servant who did know his eye
Better then you know me, or (which is one) 10
Then I my self. The servant instantly.
Quitting the fruit, seiz'd on my heart alone
And threw it in a font wherein did fall
A stream of bloud which issu'd from the side
Of a great rock. I well remember all 15
And have good cause. There it was dipt and
And washt and wrung; the very wringing yet
Enforceth tears. Your heart was foul, I fear.
Indeed 'tis true. I did and do commit
Many a fault more then my lease will bear, 20
Yet still askt pardon and was not deni'd.
But you shall heare. After my heart was well,
And clean and fair, as I one even-tide
(I sigh to tell)
180 LOVE UNKNOWN
14. Here, as in the popular hymn, Rock of Ages, there
appears to be a double allusion to the striking of
the rock by Moses and the piercing of Christ's side.
Numbers xx, 11, and John xix, 34. A similar blend-
ing occurs in The Sacrifice, III, 139, 1. 170.
22. Was well. Cf. Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 31. When
my heart was cleansed of desire for worldly honor
and I had decided on the priesthood.
25. Walkt by my self abroad, the Crisis period.
28. Herbert has five poems with this title. The refer-
ence here is to the one in IV, 135, written after the
death of his mother.
40. Matthew xxvi, 28. .
42. Cf. The Invitation, V, 49, 1. 12.
43. For good=ioT my good. The church ordinances,
which to those around me were routine matters,
had gained for me an inner meaning, in which as a
priest I hoped now to rest.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 181
Walkt by my self abroad, I saw a large 25
And spacious fornace flaming, and thereon
A boyling caldron round about whose verge
Was in great letters set AFFLICTION.
The greatnesse shew'd the owner. So I went
To fetch a sacrifice out of my fold, 30
Thinking with that which I did thus present
To warm his love, which I did fear grew cold.
But as my heart did tender it, the man
Who was to take it from me shpt his hand 34
And threw my heart into the scalding pan —
My heart, that brought it (do you understand .'')
The offerer's heart. Your heart was hard, I fear.
Indeed 't is true. I found a callous matter
Began to spread and to expatiate there;
But with a richer drug then scalding water 40
I bath'd it often, ev'n with holy bloud.
Which at a board, while many drunk bare wine,
A friend did steal into my cup for good,
Ev'n taken inwardly, and most divine
To supple hardnesses. But at the length 45
Out of the caldron getting, soon I fled
Unto my house, where to repair the strength
Which I had lost, I hasted to my bed.
But when I thought to sleep out all these faults
(I sigh to speak) 50
182 LOVE UNKNOWN
51. Home and the quiet of Bemerton brought restless
55. Cf. Church-Lock and Key, IV, 97, 1. 1.
56. The dulnesse which is lamented in the poem of
that liame, V, 207.
59. So The Method, V, 197, 1. 15.
60. The Bag, V, 159, 1. 24.
70. In these adjectives are summed up some of the
most constant desires of Herbert and of his age, —
to be ever fresh, sensitive, and alert, — desires
which in Herbert's case were continually thwarted
by feeble health.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 183
I found that some had stuff 'd the bed with thoughts,
I would say thorns. Deare, could my heart not
When with my pleasures ev'n my rest was gone ?
Full well I understood who had been there,
For I had giv'n the key to none but one. 55
It must be he. Your heart was dull, I fear.
Indeed a slack and sleepie state of minde
Did oft possesse me, so that when I pray'd,
Though my hps went, my heart did stay behinde.
But all my scores were by another paid, 60
Who took the debt upon him. Truly, Friend,
For ought I heare, your Master shows to you
More favour then you wot of. Mark the end:
The Font did onely what was old renew, 64
The Caldron suppled what was grown too hard.
The Thorns did quicken what was grown too dull.
All did but strive to mend what you had marred.
Wherefore he cheered, and praise him to the full
Each day, each houre, each moment of the week.
Who fain would have you he new, tender, quick.
184 THE FAMILIE
Not found in W. He finds murmurings lurking in
his priestly heart.
Peace, Silence, Order, Obedience, Joy, Grief, are
the true members of God's Household.
•2. A part, a musical part ; as noise in the preceding
line is probably intended for jarring music. So
Aaron, V, 11, 1. 8.
4. Rule or eares. Rule refers to pulling, in the previ-
ous Une, and eares to loud.
5. Cf. Man, IV, 11, 1. 2-4.
7. Mark xi, 15-17.
8. iVeai=refinedly beautiful. So Man, IV, 17, 1. 42.
10. Plaies. The preposition is omitted, as when we
speak of playing the harp.
12. The rank growths of the soul are brought into
order. Cf. Paradise, V, 39.
20. <S^n/Z= penetrating. Milton's "Shrill matin song,"
Par. Lost, V, 7. But that the expression was a dar-
ing one, even for Herbert, is plain from Vaughan's
repeating it in the first line of his Admission: "How
shrill are silent tears!"
IX. RESTLESSNESS 185
What doth this noise of thoughts within my heart,
As if they had a part ?
What do these loud complaints and pulling fears.
As if there were no rule or eares ?
But, Lord, the house and familie are thine, 5
Though some of them repine.
Turn out these wranglers which defile thy seat,
For where thou dwellest all is neat.
First Peace and Silence all disputes controU,
Then Order plaies the soul; 10
And giving all things their set forms and houres.
Makes of wilde woods sweet walks and bowres.
Humble Obedience neare the doore doth stand.
Expecting a command; 14
Then whom in waiting nothing seems more slow,
Nothing more quick when she doth go.
Joyes oft are there, and griefs as oft as joyes.
But griefs «vithout a noise ;
Yet speak they louder then distempered fears.
What is so shrill as silent tears ? 20
This is thy house, with these it doth abound.
And where these are not found,
Perhaps thou com*st sometimes and for a day.
But not to make a constant stay.
186 THE DISCHARGE
Not found in W. He finds himself reprehensibly.
wondering if he has been wise in taking orders.
Unique, but differs only in rhyming system from
Judgement, IV, 67.
Having now committed myself to God, let anxieties
cease. Away, distrust! Matthew vi, 25-34.
3. "Llcorous, probably from the hcking of the lips of
men and animals when slavering and greedy-desir-
ous; and is metaphorically apphed to the eyes.
Lecherous is in fact the same word, but more con-
fined by present custom to one form of desire:"
A. B. Grosart. He that for quality is licorous after
dainties is a glutton : Country Parson, XXVI.
8. Depart = dispense, part with. Cf. Obedience, IV,
181, 1. 8. Throughout this poem there is constant
reference to Obedience, where his decision to be-
come a priest was originally reached.
11. 75 gone=is determined already by your past act.
13. Exodus xiii, 21.
16. !^/^^s=the disasters and comforts of the Crisis time.
He made thee a priest, as in 1. 11.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 187
BusiE enquiring heart, what wouldst thou know ?
Why dost thou prie,
And turn, and leer, and with a licorous eye
Look high and low,
And in thy lookings stretch and grow ? 5
Hast thou not made thy counts and summ'd up
Did not thy heart
Give up the whole and with the whole depart ?
Let what will fall.
That which is past who can recall ? 10
Thy Kfe is God's, thy time to come is gone,
And is his right.
He is thy night at noon, he is at night
Thy noon alone.
The crop is his, for he hath sown. 15
And well it was for thee, when this befell.
That God did make
Thy businesse his, and in thy life partake;
For thou canst tell,
If it be his once, all is well. 20
188 THE DISCHARGE
22-25. Fortunate to know what the present demands,
without cudgeUing your brains over the future.
30. It will grow fast enough without your digging for it.
31. Provide=]o6k forward.
32. "The reverse of going upon or acting on the square
=acts disloyally, breaks the agreement that the
present is his and the future his God's:" A. B. Gro-
sart. John the Baptist squared out [i. e. assigned] to
every one what to do : Country Parson, XXXII.
34. Same use of wide in H. Baptisme, III, 191, 1. 8.
39. Those grounds=ihe future, separated from us by
IX. RESTLESSNESS 189
Onely the present is thy part and fee.
And happy thou
If, though thou didst not beat thy future brow,
Thou couldst well see
What present things required of thee. 25
They ask enough. Why shouldst thou further go ?
Raise not the mudde
Of future depths, but drink the cleare and good.
Dig not for wo
In times to come, for it will grow. 30
Man and the present fit; if he provide,
He breaks the square.
This houre is mine; if for the next I care,
I grow too wide,
And do encroach upon death's side. 35
For death each houre environs and surrounds.
He that would know
And care for future chances, cannot go
Unto those grounds
But through a Church-yard which them
190 THE DISCHARGE
45. "The phrase is taken from tilting a cask on end
to get all out of the tap:" A. B. Grosart. This does
not fit the context, which requires that an end shall
mean at great length. The explanation is found in
an earlj use of bottom in the sense of a spool or
holder on which thread is wound. So Herbert uses
it in 1622 in a letter to his mother in her sickness:
I have alwaies observed the thred of life to be like other
threds or shenes of silk, fvll of snarles and incum-
brances. Happy is he whose bottome is wound up and
laid ready for work in the New Jerusalem. The New
English Dictionary cites an example from Ralegh's
History of the World: "He receiveth from her
[Ariadne] a bottom of thread." The meaning here
accordingly is that, by anticipating, men pull an end
from the spool of grief and unroll the whole ball.
And this, so far from putting away the trouble, gives
length to it. The same figure is applied in a differ-
ent way in The Church-Porch, HI, 29, 1. 124.
The word may possibly have a similar meaning in
Church-Rents and Schismes, V, 105, 1. 6.
46. Causes of fear are tied up in the future. Do not
release them, 1. 48, nor make to-morrow sad. Our
proverb says: " Let sleeping dogs lie."
54. So The Bag, V, 157, 1. 1.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 191
Things present shrink and die. But they that spend
Their thoughts and sense
On future grief, do not remove it thence,
But it extend,
And draw the bottome out an end. 45
God chains the dog till night. Wilt loose the chain.
And wake thy sorrow ?
Wilt thou forestall it, and now grieve tomorrow.
And then again
Grieve over freshly all thy pain ? 60
Either grief will not come, or if it must.
Do not forecast.
And while it cometh it is almost past.
My God hath promised, he is just. 55
192 THE SIZE
How great may one be who would also be a servant
of God ? Size is used in this sense in Faith, IV,
31, 1. 28, and in The Rose, IV, 185, 1. 4.
Not found in W. He is trying to adjust himself to
In this world there come to the Christian small joys,
— and it is well.
5, 6. As streams in the lowlands are kept alive by
waters higher up, so let your gentle joys be stirred
by those on high.
9. Enough pleasure to render grief endurable.
21. Those have. The great joys are already in pos-
session of their hopes.
22. On score, i. e. on trust, as in The Bag, V, 159,
IX. RESTLESSNESS 193
Content thee, greedie heart.
Modest and moderate joyes to those that have
Title to more hereafter when they part,
Are passing brave.
Let th' upper springs into the low 5
Descend and fall, and thou dost flow.
What though some have a fraught
Of cloves and nutmegs, and in cinamon sail;
If thou hast wherewithall to spice a draught.
When griefs prevail, 10
And for the future time art heir
To th' Isle of spices, is't not fair.^
To be in both worlds full
Is more then God was, who was hungrie here.
Wouldst thou his laws of fasting disanuU ? 15
Enact good cheer ?
Lay out thy joy, yet hope to save it ^
Wouldst thou both eat thy cake and have it ?
Great joyes are all at once,
But little do reserve themselves for more. 20
Those have their hopes ; these what they have
And live on score.
Those are at home, these journey still
And meet the rest on Sion's hill.
194 THE SIZE
25. Luke vi, 24-26.
29. Cf. Affliction, IV, 135, 1. 10.
35. The split infinitive is rare in Herbert's verse. I
have not found another instance.
36. like one still in pursuit, not in assured and happy ,
possession. Pretend is used in this sense in Un-
KINDNESSE, IV, 105, 1. 16.
38. 1 Timothy vi, 10.
40. An absent line here, omitted both in 1632 and in B.,
is thus supplied by Dr. Grosart: At all tiwips faU.
Ernest Rhys proposes: Did always fall.
41. Instead of reckoning time from the last great storm,
some joy would mark our epoch.
42. Dr. Grosart thinks seam is used here in the sense
of pocket. Do not expect to pocket up blessings.
46. An emblem, Kke those described by Quarles, or
Hke that of Hope, V, 203.
rx. RESTLESSNESS 195
Thy Saviour sentenc'd joy, 25
And in the flesh condemned it as unfit,
At least in lump, for such doth oft destroy;
Whereas a bit
Doth tice us on to hopes of more,
And for the present health restore. 30
A Christian's state and case
Is not a corpulent, but a thinne and spare
Yet active strength ; whose long and bonie
Content and care
Do seem to equally divide — 35
Like a pretender, not a bride.
Wherefore sit down, good heart.
Grasp not at much, for fear thou losest all.
/ If comforts fell according to desert, 39
They would great frosts and snows destroy;
For we should count. Since the last joy.
Then close again the seam
Which thou hast open'd. Do not spread thy robe
In hope of great things. Call to minde thy
An earthly globe, 45
On whose meridian was engraven,
These seas are tears, and heaven the haven.
196 THE METHOD
Not found in W. He questions why he is not nearer
Used also in Good Friday, III, 149, but with
dijfferent rhyming system.
Our method of treating God, and his of treating
us. A slight early sketch of this theme is found
in Church-Lock and Key, IV, 97.
3. i2w6= hindrance. Hamlet's, "Ay, there's the rub : '*
6. Jfoi;e= propose, used much as in parliamentary
proceedings. So motion is used in 1. 19 and 23. Cf.
Praise, IV, 193, 1. 4, The Call, V, 9, 1. 10, and
Perseverance, VI, 155, 1. 3. Lord Herbert entitles
one of his poems An Ode on a Question Moved
Whether Love Should Continue For Ever.
10. Tumble thy breast; so Church-Porch, III, 31,
15. So Love Unknown, V, 183, 1. 59.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 197
PooRE heart, lament.
For since thy God refuseth still.
There is some rub, some discontent,
Which cools his will.
Thy Father could 5
Quickly effect what thou dost move.
For he is Power ; and sure he would.
For he is Love.
Go search this thing.
Tumble thy breast and turn thy book. 10
If thou hadst lost a glove or ring,
Wouldst thou not look.?
What do I see
Written above there ? Yesterday
I did behave me carelesly 15
When I did pray.
198 THE METHOD
18. Indijjerents= careless persons.
23. / conceive the restraining motions are much more
frequerd to the godly then inviting motions : To the
49th Consideration of Valdesso.
27. The rhyme was aheady used in 1. 19.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 199
And should God's eare
To such indifferents chained be
Who do not their own motions heare ?
Is God lesse free ? 20
But stay! What's there?
Late when I would have something done,
I had a motion to forbear.
Yet I went on.
And should God's eare, 25
Which needs not man, be ty'd to those
Who heare not him, but quickly heare
His utter foes ?
Then once more pray.
Down with thy knees, up with thy voice. 30
Seek pardon first, and God will say,
Glad heart rejoyce.
Emblems, both of word and picture, were much
in fashion in Herbert*s day. Quarles* Emblems
(1635) well met the current taste. An emblem en-
graved upon a ring similar to the emblems men-
tioned here was sent to Herbert by Dr. Donne. It
is described in Walton's Life, and in Herbert's
verses of acknowledgment, VI, 161. According to
the prints of it that have come down to us, it had
on one side an anchor used as a cross, and on the
other side a growing plant bearing a Jew green eares.
If this poem was in any way suggested by Donne's
seal, its date is not earlier than 1630-31. Walton
says the seals were engraved a httle before Donne's
death in 1631. About the interpretation of this
poem there are discussions in Notes and Queries,
IX, 154; X, 18, 333.
Not found in W.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 201
Herbert's constant subject, the contradictions of
love, which may here be entitled The Weariness of
Hope. It is the theme of The Collar, V, 211,
but does not, Hke that poem, find a conclusion in
the acceptance of love.
To Love I gave my time, prayers, tears. Serving
Love long and getting small return, I remind him
of time passing, prayers offered, tears shed. Still
he gives only hopes, visions, immature fruit. I
despair. Translating into abstract terms Herbert's
imagery of things, the sequence of his thought might
be represented thus:
To Love I said, " Hast thou forgotten Time ? "
"Time counts for naught with Love, for Love is Hope."
But I prayed still the prayer I ever prayed.
" Look far away," said Love, " Not on things near."
" Nay, here and now is fruit," he said. " Unripe, indeed."
" Why such delay ? " cried I. " Give all or none! "
202 . , HOPE
2. Hebrews vi, 9.
4. Optick=ielescope. The word occurs again in the
lines To the Queene of Bohemia, VI, 185, 1. 13.
Milton, remembering Galileo, speaks of "The moon
whose orb Through optic glass the Tuscan artist
views: " Par. Lost, I, 287.
5. Cf. Praise, V, 47, 1. 27.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 203
I GAVE to Hope a watch of mine; but he
An anchor gave to me.
Then an old prayer-book I did present;
And he an optick sent.
With that I gave a viall full of tears; 5
But he a few green eares.
Ah Loyterer! Fie no more, no more I'le bring.
I did expect a ring.
Not found in W. His hopes of greatness blighted
in Bemerton parish.
Used also in The 23 Psalme, V, 19.
The ambitious heart, knowing its blindness, re-
luctantly accepts the small appointed work.
2. My power and right of judgment are given up to
4. My designe, i. e. of political preferment.
10. My private judgment, 1. 2.
12. Disseize = dispossess. Love, III, 85, 1. 26.
17. Gift; cf. 1. 2 and 11.
19. The same thought occurs again in Obedience,
IV, 183, 1. 23-25. Psalm cxxxix, 10.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 205
But that Thou art my wisdome, Lord,
And both mine eyes are thine,
My minde would be extreamly stirr'd
For missing my designe.
Were it not better to bestow 5
Some place and power on me ?
Then should thy praises with me grow.
And share in my degree.
But when I thus dispute and grieve,
I do resume my sight, 10
And pilfring what I once did give.
Disseize thee of thy right.
How know I, if thou shouldst me raise.
That I should then raise thee ?
Perhaps great places and thy praise 15
Do not so well agree.
Wherefore unto my gift I stand;
I will no more advise.
Onely do thou lend me a hand.
Since thou hast both mine eyes. 20
Not found in W. Mental inertness deplored.
Used also in Giddinesse, V, 129.
Why, when gay wits celebrate their mistresses on
every trivial occasion, have I such torpor in honor-
ing my love ? A first sketch of The Forerun-
ners, VI, 77.
3. Quicknesse=\iYacity of mind (1. 25).
7. The phrase is repeated in Jordan, III, 91, 1. 5.
12. As truly as the fairest fair (1. 6).
IX. RESTLESSNESS 207
Why do I languish thus, drooping and dull,
As if I were all earth ?
O give me quicknesse, that I may with mirth
Praise thee brim-full!
The wanton lover in a curious strain 5
Can praise his fairest fair.
And with quaint metaphors her curled hair
Curl o're again.
Thou art my lovelinesse, my life, my light,
Beautie alone to me. 10
Thy bloudy death and undeserved makes thee
Pure red and white.
13. Taking up again 1. 10.
14. A parenthetic line — And that perfection those
18. For a window-songy Dr. Grosart refers to Sidney's
Astrophel and Stella, LIII.
19. Pretending =siTeiching forth, aspiring, as in Jor-
dan, III, 93, 1. 16.
21. Sugred lyes. The phrase is used also in The Rose,
IV, 185, 1.2.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 209
When all perfections as but one appeare —
That, those thy form doth show —
The very dust where thou dost tread and go 15
Makes beauties here.
Where are my lines then ? My approaches ? Views ?
Where are my window-songs ?
Lovers are still pretending, and ev'n wrongs
Sharpen their Muse. 20
But I am lost in flesh, whose sugred lyes
Still mock me and grow bold.
Sure thou didst put a minde there, if I could
Finde where it lies. 24
Lord, cleare thy gift, that with a constant wit
I may but look towards thee.
Look onely; for to love thee, who can be,
What angel fit ?
210 THE COLLAR
The Cozii^i2= restraint.
Not found in W. Herbert has already entered the
priesthood, but finds the experience of it irksome.
Unique. Rhymes irregular and very widely spaced,
those of 1. 3-10 and 13-23 being the widest in
The irritating restraints of righteousness only ap-
peased by love.
4. Lines and life; cf. The Banquet, V, 57, 1. 51.
5. (Sfore= amplest abundance. So The Pearl, IV,
179, 1. 26. Dr. Grosart gives the amazing explana-
tion, "As abounding in choice vanities as a store."
6. Shall I always be a petitioner, never a master ?
IX. RESTLESSNESS 211
I STRUCK the board, and cry'd, No more !
I will abroad.
What ? Shall I ever sigh and pine ?
My lines and life are free, free as the rode,
Loose as the winde, as large as store. 5
Shall I be still in suit ?
Have I no harvest but a thorn
To let me bloud, and not restore
What I have lost with cordiall fruit ?
Sure there was wine 10
Before my sighs did drie it. There was corn
Before my tears did drown it.
Is the yeare onely lost to me ?
Have I no bayes to crown it ?
No flowers, no garlands gay ? All blasted ? 15
All wasted ?
«12 THE COLLAR
18. The same turn in The Quip, V, 33, 1. 7.
24. Of binding power, though really only a rope of
26. FFmA;= intentionally shut the eyes. So Miserie,
tV, 53, 1. 62, and Acts xvii, 30.
29. Take away the scarecrows. Manufactured fears
shall no longer stop my breaking away.
33-36. Dr. Grosart well refers to Parentalia, VIII,
Tandem prehensa comiter lacemvla
Susurrat aure quispiam,
Haec fuerat olim potio Domini tui.
Gusto prohoque dolium.
35. Me thoughts: so Artillerie, IV, 157, 1. 2.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 213
Not so, my heart! But there is fruit,
And thou hast hands.
Recover all thy sigh-blown age
On double pleasures. Leave thy cold dispute 20
Of what is fit and not. Forsake thy cage,
Thy rope of sands.
Which pettie thoughts have made, and made to thee
Good cable, to enforce and draw.
And be thy law, 25
While thou didst wink and wouldst not see.
Away! Take heed!
I will abroad.
Call in thy death's head there. Tie up thy fears.
He that forbears 30
To suit and serve his need
Deserves his load.
But as I rav'd and grew more fierce and wilde
At every word.
Me thoughts I heard one calling, Childe I 35
And I reply'd. My Lord.
214 THE BUNCH OF GRAPES
The grapes of Eshcol. Numbers xiii, 23.
Not found in W. See notes on 1. 4 and 9.
We experience all that the IsraeUtes did in the
wilderness, except the welcome clusters at the
journey's end. But no: instead of the refreshment
which those who were under the Law from time to
time obtained, we have continually the new wine
of Christ's blood.
4. Sev^n may be used merely as a round number. Yet
if, as is probable, this poem was written somewhere
near the middle of his Bemerton hfe, the time here
indicated would fall before the death of King
James, of Herbert's mother, and of those other
friends lamented in Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 31-36.
This was Herbert's last period of secular employ-
ment. Whatever the special reference of this date
may be, it places the poem late in his Kfe. — " Vogue
=a free course with a full sail; and hence aire in
Une 5:" A. B. Grosart.
7. Numbers xxxiii, 10.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 215
THE BUNCH OF GRAPES
Joy, I did lock thee up, but some bad man
Hath let thee out again;
And now, me thinks, I am where J began
Sev'n yeares ago. One vogue and vein,
One aire of thoughts usurps my brain. 5
I did toward Canaan draw, but now I am
Brought back to the Red sea, the sea of shame.
216 THE BUNCH OF GRAPES
8. The course of thought in this stanza is not at once
obvious. It is something Hke this: On account of
rebellions, God did not permit the Israelites to reach
an abiding city. But their story is our story. No-
thing which has moved men widely is an individual
affair ; each step in a divine transaction is typical
and for all time. So God's justice to the Jews will-
be proved his justice to us.
9. It is in the isolation of Bemerton, his desert, far
from London and Cambridge, that Herbert feels
the hardship of the march toward Canaan, i. e. the
priesthood. The sacred wine — his priestly work —
must be his comfort.
10. Spann'd=}iSLYe journeys of the same span or length.
1 Corinthians x, 11.
24. Herbert gathers together the notable cases of
grapes: the grapes of Eshcol, 1. 19; the vineyard
of Noah, fruitful to his injury (Genesis ix, 20, and
The Church Militant, VI, 119, 1. 15); the wine-
press of Isaiah (Isaiah Ixiii, 3); and Christ the true
vine (John xv, 1).
28. Mark xiv, 24.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 217
For as the Jews of old by God's command
TraveU'd and saw no town, 9
So now each Christian hath his journeys spanned.
Their storie pennes and sets us down.
A single deed is small renown.
God's works are wide, and let in future times.
His ancient justice overflows our crimes. 14
Then have we too our guardian fires and clouds.
Our Scripture-dew drops fast.
We have our sands and serpents, tents and shrowds.
Alas! Our murmurings come not last.
But where's the cluster ? Where's the taste
Of mine inheritance ? Lord, if I must borrow, 20
Let me as well take up their joy as sorrow.
But can he want the grape who hath the wine ?
I have their fruit and more.
Blessed be God, who prosper'd Noah's vine
And made it bring forth grapes good store. 25
But much more him I must adore
Who of the law's sowre juice sweet wine did make,
Ev'n God himself being pressed for my sake.
218 THE SEARCH
Not found in W.
"Oh that I knew where I might find him!" Job
3. Psalm xHi, 3.
4. Prove = reach certainty and success.
6. The sphere is the skie of 1. 5, and the centre the
earth, as in Pra.ter, III, 183, 1. 9.
8. The opposite of Psahn cxxxix, 8.
14. Simper = change countenance, twinkle. In The
Chubch-Porch, III, 29, 1. 123, and Affliction,
IV, 139, 1. 44, as here, a simper is the smile worn
when one meets his superiors.
20. Genesis viii, 9.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 219
Whither, O, whither art thou fled,
My Lord, my Love ?
My searches are my daily bread,
Yet never prove.
My knees pierce th' earth, mine eies the skie.
And yet the sphere 6
And centre both to me denie
That thou art there.
Yet can I mark how herbs below
Grow green and gay, 10
As if to meet thee they did know,
While I decay.
Yet can I mark how starres above
Simper and shine.
As having keyes unto thy love, 15
While poore I pine.
I sent a sigh to seek thee out.
Deep drawn in pain,
Wing'd like an arrow; but my scout
Returns in vain. 20
220 THE SEARCH
25. Dost thou withhold thy visits because somewhere
thou art making a new, good world, and abandon-
ing the old bad one ?
29. Psalm Ixxvii, 7-9.
33. Let not that, — i. e. thy will, — of all things, be what
cuts me off from thee. The next three stanzas call
upon God to exercise that will in Herbert's behalf.
35. Ring = fence, barrier.
36. Passe= overcome, surmount them.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 221
I tun'd another (having store)
Into a grone.
Because the search was dumbe before;
But all was one.
Lord, dost thou some new fabrick mold, 25
Which favour winnes
And keeps thee present, leaving th' old
Unto their sinnes ?
Where is my God ? What hidden place
Conceals thee still? 30
What covert dare eclipse thy face "^
Is it thy will ?
O let not that of any thing!
Let rather brasse,
Or steel, or mountains be thy ring, 35
And I will passe.
Thy will such an intrenching is
As passeth thought.
To it all strength, all subtilties
Are things of nought. 40
222 THE SEARCH
41. As this stanza partially repeats the thought of the
preceding, so the rhyme of that is partially repeated.
52. Cf. Justice, V, 117, 1. 24.
55. Romans viii, 35.
58. Referring to 1. 41.
59. Excels all else. Cf . Church-Porch, HI, 37, 1. 187.
60. So Antiphon, m, 107, 1. 23.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 223
Thy will such a strange distance is
As that to it
East and West touch, the poles do kisse,
And parallels meet.
Since then my grief must be as large 45
As is thy space,
Thy distance, from me; see my charge,
Lord, see my case.
O take these barres, these lengths away !
Turn, and restore me. 50
Be not Almightie, let me say.
Against, but for me.
When thou dost turn and wilt be neare.
What edge so keen.
What point so piercing, can appeare 55
To come between ?
For as thy absence doth excell
All distance known.
So doth thy nearenesse bear the bell.
Making two one. 60
AssuBANCE =Th.e ground of confidence. Cf.
Aaron, V, 11.
Not found in W. He is failing in his work as a
Used also in Affliction, IV, 43.
From suspicious thoughts about God's favor I take
refuge in Himself.
6. There is no poison so deadly as the inventions of
9-12. All this is the allegation of his spitejtdl thought.
In 1. 11 and elsewhere in this poem there seems to
be allusion to the covenant of Obedience, IV, 181.
13. Can anything be worse than this ?
IX. RESTLESSNESS 225
O spiTEFULL bitter thought!
Bitterly spiteful! thought! Couldst thou invent
So high a torture ? Is such poyson bought ?
Doubtlesse but in the way of punishment,
When wit contrives to meet with th*ee, 5
No such rank poyson can there be.
Thou said'st but even now
That all was not so fair as I conceiv'd
Betwixt my God and me: that I allow 9
And coin large hopes, but that I was deceived ;
Either the league was broke or neare it,
And that I had great cause to fear it.
And what to this ? What more 13
Could poyson, if it had a tongue, expresse ?
What is thy aim ? Wouldst thou unlock the
To cold despairs and gnawing pensivenesse ?
Wouldst thou raise devils ? I see, I know,
I writ thy purpose long ago.
22. If the ground of my confidence were myself and
not thee, 1. 25.
24. The joes are inner foes, sins.
28. Does the league here and in 1." 11 refer to the priest-
hood.? Cf. Obedience, IV, 183, 1. 32-35.
35. Psalm xxxi, 3; Mark xiii, 31.
38. This fancy that God is against thee, a fancy which
merely hides thy own shame, — that thou art against
God. Genesis iii, 7.
39-40. "Thou hast cast a bone of contention which
has rebounded on thyself and chokes thee:" A. B.
Grosart. Cf. The Country Parson, XXVIII:
He that throws a stone at another hits himself e. In
a letter dated 1622, J. Howell, describing the
former English alliance with the Netherlands,
writes: "This was the Bone that Secretary Wal-
singham told Queen Elizabeth he would cast the
King of Spain, that should last him twenty years
and perhaps make his teeth shake in his head."
41, 42. To satisfy his own nature God went forth to
man, and He will not fail to finish his work. John
IX. RESTLESSNESS 227
But I will to my Father,
Who heard thee say it. O most gracious Lord, 20
If all the hope and comfort that I gather
Were from my self, I had not half a word,
Not half a letter to oppose
What is objected by my foes.
But thou art my desert, 25
And in this league, which now my foes invade,
Thou art not onely to perform thy part,
But also mine; as when the league was made
Thou didst at once thy self indite.
And hold my hand while I did write. 30
Wherefore if thou canst fail,
Then can thy truth and I. But while rocks stand.
And rivers stirre, thou canst not shrink or quail.
Yea, when both rocks and all things shall disband,
Then shalt thou be my rock and tower, 35
And make their mine praise thy power.
Now foolish thought go on.
Spin out thy thread and make thereof a coat
To hide thy shame; for thou hast cast a bone
Which bounds on thee, and will not down thy
What for it self love once began.
Now love and truth will end in man.
Not found in W.
The stern exactions of Conscience stilled by
5. C hatting =cliaiienng,
6. All that I see or hear is distorted.
10. The rhyme there and sphere had already been used
in Prayer, HI, 183, 1. 11.
13-24. Not only does the blood of Christ, accepted in
the Communion wine, cleanse us (my physick, 1. 15)
so that conscience can no longer accuse, but the
love of Christ as a moral principle is so at issue with
the self-conscious calculations of the Law that it
may be said to be a bill-hook or staff capable of
turning the attack against conscience itself (my
sword, 1. 24).
IX. RESTLESSNESS 229
Peace pratler, do not lowre!
Not a fair look but thou dost call it foul.
Not a sweet dish but thou dost call it sowre.
Musick to thee doth howl.
By Ustning to thy chatting fears 5
I have both lost mine eyes and eares.
Pratler, no more, I say!
My thoughts must work, but like a noiselesse
Harmonious peace must rock them all the day.
No room for pratlers there. 10
If thou persistest, I will tell thee
That I have physick to expell thee.
And the receit shall be
My Saviour's bloud. Whenever at his board
I do but taste it, straight it cleanseth me 15
And leaves thee not a word;
No, not a tooth or nail to scratch.
And at my actions carp or catch.
Yet if thou talkest still, 19
Besides my physick know there 's some for thee ;
Some wood and nails to make a staffe or bill
For those that trouble me.
The bloudie crosse of my deare Lord
Is both my physick and my sword.
230 THE CROSSE
Not found in W.
Used also in The Agonie, V, 153.
What I have obtained after years of desire I am
now powerless to use. With this poem compare
the close of Love Unknown, V, 183, and of The
Pilgrimage, V, 239.
5,6. These lines give some of the reasons which induced
Herbert to accept the hving of Bemerton from his
great kinsman. He hoped through the influence of
the neighboring Pembroke family at Wilton House
to strengthen his work as a parish priest.
8. This deare end=i}ie priesthood, the aim described
10. For myself, dear mother, I alwaies feared sickness
more then death ; hecaiLse sickness hath made me
unable to ^perform those offices for which I came into
the world : Herbert's letter, 1622.
13. Cf. Affliction, IV, 137, 1. 27.
16. Cf . Gratefulnesse, V, 43, 1. 22.
18. 1 still retain a strong desire for thy work, embit-
tering my feebleness.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 231
What is this strange and uncouth thing ?
To make me sigh, and seek, and faint, and die,
Untill I had some place where I might sing.
And serve thee; and not onely I,
But all my wealth and familie might combine 5
To set thy honour up as our designe.
And then when after much delay.
Much wrasthng, many a combate, this deare
So much desir'd, is giv'n, to take away
My power to serve thee! To unbend 10
All my abilities, my designes confound.
And lay my threatnings bleeding on the ground!
One ague dwelleth in my bones,
Another in my soul (the memorie
What I would do for thee if once my grones 15
Could be allow'd for harmonic).
I am in all a weak disabled thing.
Save in the sight thereof where strength doth sting.
232 THE CROSSE
21. On me = against me. The edge is the means of
wounding. Cf. Affliction, IV, 139, 1. 33.
22. Psahn cii, 10. So Donne, Hymn to God in My Sick-
ness, 1. 30 :
" Be this my text, my sermon to mine own:
Therefore, that he may raise, the Lord throws down."
30. A weed, as in Employment, IV, 145, 1. 22, instead
of such a flower as is described in The Flower,
VI, 67, 1. 23. At present he is in Paradise (V,
39), but suffers from lack of occupation. Cf. The
Country Parson, XXXII: Even in Paradise man
had a caUing, and how much more out of Paradise,
when the evills which he is mm subject unto may be
prevented, or diverted by reasonable imployment.
36. My words = thy words made mine.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 233
Besides, things sort not to my will
Ev'n when my will doth studie thy renown. 20
Thou turnest th' edge of all things on me still,
Taking me up to throw me down.
So that ev'n when my hopes seem to be sped
I am to grief alive, to them as dead.
To have my aim, and yet to be 25
Farther from it then when I bent my bow;
To make my hopes my torture and the fee
Of all my woes another wo.
Is in the midst of delicates to need,
And ev'n in Paradise to be a weed. 30
Ah my deare Father, ease my smart!
These contrarieties crush me. These crosse
Doe winde a rope about, and cut my heart.
And yet since these thy contradictions
Are properly a crosse felt by thy sonne — 35
With but foure words, my words. Thy will he done.
Hebrews xi, 14. "The characteristic of Herbert's
fancy is fruitfulness. The poetry, like the theology,
of that age, put all learning into an abridgement. A
course of lectures flowed into the rich essence of a
single sermon. A month's seed bloomed in an ode.
The 17th was the contradiction of the 19th century;
the object being then to give the most thought in
the smallest space, as now to sow the widest field
with the frugallest corn. Herbert's Pilgrimage is
an example. Written, probably, before Bunyan was
born, — certainly while he was an infant, — it con-
tains all the Progress of the Pilgrim in outline. We
are shown the gloomy cave of Desperation, the
Rock of Pride, the Mead of Fancy, the Copse of
Care, the Wild Heath where the traveller is robbed
of his gold, and the gladsome Hill that promises
a fair prospect, but only yields a lake of brackish
water on the topi Such a composition would hardly
escape the notice of that Spenser of the people, who
afterwards gave breadth and animation and figures
to the scene:" R. A. Willmott.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 235
Not found in W. I place this later than Love Un-
known because that contains no mention of coming
death, and advances no farther than the fifth stanza
of this. Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress was pub-
Hshed in 1678.
Used only here, but it closely resembles that of
Peace, IV, 173.
Herbert's autobiography, such as he had given
before in Affliction, IV, 135, and in Love Un-
known, V, 179 ; and such as Tennyson gave in
Merlin and the Gleam.
236 THE PILGRIMAGE
1. The hill=ihe priesthood, which, from a boy, he
expected to attain.
4. Desperation= ^stTusi of himself, as shown in The
Priesthood, IV, 169.
5. At one time he doubts whether he is fit for the
priesthood; at another whether the priesthood is
fit for a man of his high breeding.
7. He was Reader in Rhetoric at Trinity College,
Orator of the University, and had already acquired
a name in poetry and fine letters.
10. Life was passing.
11. Care's cops = bewildering woods. This and the fol-
lowing stanza refer to the period which I have
called The Crisis, and particularly to the experi-
ences described in Vanitie, IV, 153, and Frailtie,
17. A play on the double meaning of Angell=SL coin
worth ten shillings, and a heavenly guardian. In
the latter sense it may refer to his marriage, which
immediately preceded his taking orders. The work
of a friend in saving Herbert is also alluded to in
Love Unknown, V, 181, 1. 43, and possibly in
Peace, IV, 175, 1. 19.
IX. RESTLESSNESS 237
I TRAVELLED on, seeing the hill where lay
A long it was and weary way.
The gloomy cave of Desperation
I left on th' one, and on the other side 5
The rock of Pride.
And so I came to phansie's medow strow'd
With many a flower.
Fain would I here have made abode,
But I was quicken'd by my houre. 10
So to care's cops I came, and there got through
With much ado.
That led me to the wilde of passion, which
Some call the wold;
A wasted place, but sometimes rich. 15
Here I was robb'd of all my gold
Save one good Angell, which a friend had ti'd
■ '^ Close to my side.
19. The priesthood at Bemerton, which he found dis-
appointing ; of. Love Unknown, V, 181, 183,
1. 50-53, and The Crosse, V, 233, 1. 19-31.
23. His parish Ufe was stagnant and tasteless.
28. It had not proved what he had imagined in The
Call, V, 9, 1. 2.
31. The heavenly priesthood.
33. Cf. The Discharge, V, 189, 1. 38-40.
36. A chair = the sedan-chair, a noble mode of convey-
ance, which was being introduced into England in
Herbert's later years. Cf. Mortification, W,57,
IX. RESTLESSNESS 239
At length I got unto the gladsome hill,
Where lay my hope, 20
Where lay my heart. And cKmbing still,
When I had gain'd the brow and top,
A lake of brackish waters on the ground
Was all I found. 24
With that abash'd and struck with many a sting
Of swarming fears,
I fell and cry'd, Alas my King !
Can both the way and end be tears ?
Yet taking heart I rose, and then perceived
I was deceiv'd; 30
My hill was further. So I flung away.
Yet heard a crie
Just as I went. None goes that way
And lives! If that be all, said I,
After so foul a journey death is fair, 35
And but a chair.
TEXTUAL VARIATIONS OF THE
The Call (p. 9) :
4. I have adopted the reading of B. Ed. 1633 by
manifest error reads, And siLch a.
Providence (p. 79):
102. For furres B. reads furre.
Church-Rents and Schismes (p. 105) :
In the title B. reads Church-Rents or Schisms.
1. For chair B. reads place.
18. For faded B. reads vaded.
Justice (p. 117):
10. For torturing B. reads torturing,
BusiNESSE (p. 139) :
29. For space B. reads spare.
The Pulley (p. 149) :
3. For him B. reads his.
The Familie (p. 185) :
3. For pyUing B. reads piding.
The Size (p. 193):
5. For springs B. reads strings.